Grenique “Black Butterfly”


Experience an Ontario Arts Council (OAC) jury – June 20

Online simulated jury workshop for community-engaged artists learn how the assessment process works and what makes a strong application!
Are you an artist, art collective, or arts organization, and want to apply for grants for your community-engaged arts projects? Or are you a community organization (not an arts organization), school board, or Indigenous-run school that wants to apply to work with professional artists? If so, we invite you to participate in a simulated Ontario Arts Council (OAC) jury! By going through the assessment process, you will find out how applications are assessed and how decisions are made in the Artists in Communities and Schools Projects program.
In EnglishJUN206 p.m. to 8 p.m.2019 In FrenchJUN256 p.m. to 8 p.m.2019 RSVP DEADLINE 
JUN 13, 2019 

Central Time (CT): June 20, 12 p.m.- 2 p.m. (in English)June 25, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. (in French)
Introductions About the OAC and the Artists in Communities and Schools Projects program Instructions for the jury Discussion and score three applications Funding allocationReflection on the assessment processQ&As
OAC Representatives
Nas Khan, Arts Education OfficerTerry Gitersos, Arts Education Program AdministratorChristina Akrong, Associate Arts Education Officer
You must register to participate. 

Space is limited. Please register early!
How to register: RSVP to Terry Gitersos at before Thursday, June 13 at 9 a.m. (ET).In your e-mail, include the following information: Name If you have accessibility requirements
After registration: You will receive an e-mail with instructions on how to access the webinar and what you need to do to prepare.
To participate, you will need: Access to a phone for the audio A computer with an internet connection and ideally with the Google Chrome web browser installed user profile on NOVA, OAC’s online grant application system. To create an account, click here.
AccessibilityBack To Top 
If you have accessibility requirements, please contact Terry before Thursday, June 13 at 9 a.m. (ET).Terry Gitersos
Program Administrator
416-969-7401 | toll-free in Ontario: 1-800-387-0058, ext.

Please forward this invitation! If you have already received this message, we apologize for the repetition. For more than 50 years, the Ontario Arts Council (OAC) has played a vital role in promoting and assisting the development of the arts for the enjoyment and benefit of Ontarians. In 2017-18, OAC invested $58.7 million in 231 communities across Ontario through 2,294 grants to individual artists and 1,474 grants to organizations.Unsubscribe© Ontario Arts Council
121 Bloor Street East, 7th floor
Toronto, ON M4W 3M5
416-961-1660 | 1-800-387-0058  

Apparel Textile Sourcing Canada on Track for Another Series of Record-Breaking Shows in Toronto and Montreal as Event Heads into Fourth Year

Latest Fashion Industry Technology, Eco-Friendly Textiles, and Sustainable Supply Chain Practices Take Centre Stage at Apparel Textile Sourcing Canada, as Show Heads into 4th Year, Anchored as Must-Attend Global Industry Event

ATSC 2019 to introduce expanded product variety, ‘wholesale supplier’ exhibits, and industry-shifting B2B eCommerce solutions, among a range of new show offerings

Toronto and Montreal, April 16, 2019 — With pre-registration numbers already exceeding forecasts, Apparel Textile Sourcing Canada (ATSC) — which takes place August 19-21 in Toronto and August 23 in Montreal — is on track for another series of record-breaking shows in 2019, show organizers have announced.

“ATSC is coming back to Canada in a big way for the fourth year, a testament to its market need and success as a must-attend event for Canadian and Northeast U.S. industry representatives to connect with hundreds of factories from around the world under one roof,” said Jason Prescott, CEO of JP Communications, ATSC producer and publisher of North America’s leading of B2B trade platforms and

“The show has become one of Canada’s most significant B2B events, consistently delivering year-over-year growth, thanks to its unique merger of Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter merchandise into a single once-per-year trade show,” he added. “Nowhere else in Canada will you find ambassadors, trade commissioners, export councils and private sector representatives from more than 20 countries coming together with thousands of apparel and textile industry representatives, from C-Level executives to SMEs and start-ups.”

According to Jeff Streader, CEO of GoGlobal Retail, “ATSC sets a new standard for the production of a sourcing event, not only for Canada but for the apparel industry at large. Toronto has now anchored itself amongst cities like Hong Kong and Paris as an earmark destination for manufacturers from around the world to meet with brands and retailers at their front door. Connecting with factories is the foundation of the event, however, it’s the education, thought leadership, keynote speakers and panelists that set the show above the rest.”

Steve Tipman, Executive Director of TFO Canada shared: “As a non-profit organization that improves lives through the creation of sustainable trade partnerships between exporters from developing countries and Canadian and foreign buyers, TFO Canada has enjoyed a strong relationship with ATSC since it began in 2016. The show has proven to be an excellent venue, providing a unique platform for many small and medium-sized enterprises to make important connections with Canadian buyers.” 

New to ATSC 2019 will be a range of first-time offerings, from expanded product variety and a new ‘wholesale supplier’ section to the latest in fashion technology, eco-friendly textiles, and sustainable supply chains. The leading roster of speakers headlining the three-day event includes: Bob Kirke, Executive Director of the Canadian Apparel Federation; Julie Hughes, President of the U.S. Fashion Industry Association; Diego Diaz; Trade Commissioner representing Guatemala; Avedis Seferian, President and CEO of WRAP; and Tony Sciarrotta, Executive Director of the Reverse Logistics Association; among many others.

Sustainability in Supply Chains, Thoughts on Future from Bob Kirke, Executive Director of the Canadian Apparel Federation

“The current emphasis on environmental and social concerns by consumers, especially by the younger generation, demonstrates that people are more mindful than ever before about how and where their clothing is made,” explained Bob Kirke of the Canadian Apparel Federation, a strong ATSC supporter since the show’s inception. “Forward-thinking companies will need to keep consumer preferences top of mind throughout the production process and be aware of the practical solutions they can implement to address sustainability concerns.”

With a global shift in consumer preferences and social consciousness, Kirke and other ATSC speakers will provide important updates on sustainability, in addition to repairing fragmented supply chains and trade, importing and exporting issues. On opening day, the subjects of Communication, Growth Potential, Free Trade Zones, and Compliance, among others, will be discussed in a panel on the topic of Sustainability in Your Supplier Evaluation and Decision-Making Matrix.

“The topic of sustainability is quite broad, however, by using well-defined criteria when evaluating a supplier, our sourcing team can carefully analyze before awarding a contract,” said Pamela Bokser, Director of Softgoods Imports, who will participate in the opening day panel. “Although rigorous, these factors are a must. When a vendor is nominated, the goal is a long-term sustainable relationship, not a one-off production run.”

Next Frontier: Import and Export through eCommerce, B2B, and B2C

Import and export are all-encompassing — whether orders are the size of an ocean container or a few cases — and businesses today need to have multiple options for how to transact and move merchandise to their buyers. As show attendees will learn, the next frontier for Canadian apparel businesses is export through eCommerce — now more relevant for B2B buying and selling than ever — and Canadian companies need to adapt. This year’s seminar series will provide valuable resource options to move bulk merchandise in and out of the Canadian market by leveraging cross-border eCommerce platforms and other omni-channel solutions.

Large and Small MOQs welcome at ATSC, Expanded India Pavilion

Returning to ATSC on a significantly larger scale, the Indian Pavilion will give attendees the ability to source wool products, basic knitwear with several finishing techniques, suiting, and other woven items, leather accessories, and other specialized items from selected manufacturers. This year, India’s representation will also expand to include home textiles and silk products brought in through The Indian Silk Export Promotion Council, among others to be announced.

“India remains a leading investment and sourcing destination for investors and buyers from across the globe,” said Chandrika Behl, organizer of Indian exhibitors at ATSC. “The country’s textile industry is amongst the oldest in the world, dating back several centuries. In 2017-2018, India’s textile exports stood at US$39.2 billion, and are poised to grow significantly in the years to come.”

Indian exporters will showcase their emerging position in the textile and apparel world market and cater to the rise of microbrands that are becoming the norm in North America. While India has traditionally been known for accommodating larger purchase orders, many factories have now adapted to facilitate the needs of smaller brands and enterprise level buyers, who produce goods for six to eight seasons per year.

Multi-Level Supply Chain Sourcing Event, Factories, and Open-stock Wholesale

The three core factors in buying decisions to nominate a vendor are centred around quality, price, and speed-to-market. Out of these, speed-to-market from suppliers to the brand or retailer — and consumer — appears to take more priority each year for many businesses throughout the supply chain. In 2018, ATSC introduced AVENUE at ATSwhere attendees were able to meet brand exhibitors with merchandise that could be ordered and fulfilled immediately. With thousands of retailers attending the event, demand for a wider assortment of buying options grows with each show cycle. As a result, this year, ATSC is opening its doors for brands and wholesalers to exhibit, in order to cater to the immediate product needs of many retailers.

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About Apparel Textile Sourcing 
Apparel Textile Sourcing is the apparel industry’s link to the entire global supply chain. Resources, experts and manufacturers come from more than 25 countries and cover the worlds of fashion, apparel, textiles, and sourcing.  New sources, products, and ideas come alive with education, fashion shows, and trade opportunities. The ATS brand produces a range of shows, as follows:

ATS Miami — May 28-30, 2019

ATS Canada (Toronto) — August 19-21, 2019

ATS Canada (Montreal) — August 23, 2019

ATS Germany (Berlin) — September 11-13, 2019

Pre-show/post-show matchmaking

While ATS trade shows take place over a number of days, trade happens 365 days a year. ATS maintains a 24/7 Buyer Relations team year-round to help buyers find manufacturers through and 1000s of wholesale brands on Together both platforms enable visitors to connect with the proper exhibitors long before and after trade show dates alongside hundreds of thousands of other suppliers. Attendees can source online at their leisure or speak with a matchmaking agent free of charge at any time.

About JP Communications 
JP Communications runs the most expansive network of business-to-business sourcing platforms in the U.S. Anchored by and, millions of international members use the brands to locate wholesalers and manufacturers. JP Communications CEO Jason Prescott is the author of two best-selling books, Wholesale 101 and Retail 101, published by McGraw Hill.

Beautiful Bedrooms (Originally Published in New Dreamhomes and Condominiums Magazine)

It is where we start our day and where we end our day – the bedroom. Making your bedroom a beautiful place to be in, something more like a haven, a refuge or a sanctuary may be pivotal to getting good sleep and enjoying special moments in that room too.

Diane Fotheringham with Titus & Louise located at 677 Dupont St. specializes in creating beautiful bedrooms for her clients. After retiring from her former work training people on computers with an airline, she started sewing. Designers in the city liked the work she did, so she opened up a store at Christie and Dupont. The store has been there for about 15 years.

“First of all I think people should keep in mind how much time they spend in the bedroom and they should consider what they really, really love,” says Fotheringham. “They should think of the experience as an inexpensive way of having some wonderful luxury. They should be thinking of the experience of sleep, and the luxury of the experience of sleep and the time before and the time after and the practicality of it all.”

Fortheringham says your bedroom should be, “a haven or a refuge, because today I think it’s becoming less and less experience of that, it’s becoming less of a haven.”

Titus & Louise carry many products to help change all that. Your bedroom can be the haven, the refuge or the sanctuary you want it to be. Giving you the chance to sleep soundly and enjoy your time there.

“Well bedroom-wise we carry about 15 different companies and the lines of the different companies,” Fortheringham says. “We select what we think is best, but we still select what we think is best. In a large capacity, the products are coming from Europe, Israel, and China. The quality has gone way, way up in China and the pricing is low so it makes it more affordable for clients. In the past five years, there has been a huge escalation in quality and design. And the price has remained quite low. The European fabric that is assembled in Canada has high quality and they have more fabulous colours and are more innovative.”

Titus & Louis have duvets, silk duvets, and bamboo sheets. They have bamboo blankets and silk blankets.

“In addition to all of that, we also make and we can custom design bedding,” says Fortheringham. “We also manufacture and make what people need custom-wise, such as if people need decorative cushions. We do coverlets as well. We also do window treatments. We can coordinate the window treatments to go with the bed linen, we also do blinds. I also do the service of going out to people’s houses and telling them how to do the entire thing – floors and carpets too. I can do the whole thing. I have a consultation service – what they should go with, what they should get rid of if they want to keep certain things.”

The initial consultation service has a charge where options on how to work are decided. Fortheringham then can come in for subsequent meetings to create a bedroom you would really love.

“Other people like being part of the process,” says Fortheringham. “Other people are curtain challenged. We probably have one of the largest and eclectic varieties of collections. Sometimes we do not have a large showroom, we work from hangers and bedding. They come to one place and see lots of stuff. If people need to do a whole change in their bedroom, we also design headboards for the bedroom. Bed linen is a huge thing here. I think it’s really, really important that people think of what will bring them happiness and it’s really little way to make life lovely.”

The future of home building (Originally Published in New Dreamhomes and Condominiums Magazine)

While driving a rented car on his way to get his two boys their first movie ever, Antonio Gomez-Palacio, the chair of the Toronto Society for Architects, discussed his work and vision for the future of home building in the Greater Toronto Area.

“My experience is much more around urban planning and a broader city-building perspective,” said Gomez-Palacio. “I’m immersed in the debate of residential as it pertains to the broad city vision.”

His work involves such things as growth management strategies and heritage preservation. One of the projects he is currently working on is looking at Mississauga and how it should grow in the next 100 years.

“I think the more important question to ask is what does the city look like and what should it look like into the future? There are two futures for residential. One based on the trend, the other on the imperative. A trend is a form of residential that is based on sprawl and single land use. That only includes residential, a very uniform type. Single-family detached over vast areas.”

Gomez-Palacio said that when you look at the city it is a recent phenomenon – widely established over the last 30 to 20 years.

“We started to see some of the social consequences of developing in this sort of way. Taking Mississauga as an example. A lot of the current growth pattern of residential was presented by the opportunities of the automobile. They are designed for people to drive everywhere. There is a trend that the mast majority gets built under a very similar format. The pendulum is coming back. The number of condos downtown outnumbered the number of single-family detached units.”

Gomez-Palacio says this trend started on the west coast that is a complete community. People could meet all the needs of their everyday life within walking distance. The shift is towards relying on walking rather than driving.

“You can start to see it’s going to transform the vast majority of neighbourhoods over the next couple of decades,” Gomez-Palacio says. “Some small detached houses. Apartment buildings. Everything that happens in a complete city all within walking distance rather than driving distance. There is a huge push over the past decade to get kids to walk to school. There is a huge problem that people don’t walk to buy a gallon of milk.”

He says the notion of mixed-use and mixed type of residential homes is also a critical notion.

“If you have the ability to work from home and if you have a coffee shop your ease of staying home is much easier. I have two little kids and I walk them to daycare every day no matter the weather. We live in a part of the city that allows us to do that. We can design a city that allows you to do that. What’s more important is that we need to design a city in that way. We can no longer afford the type of lifestyle and the type of sprawling cities that consumes such vast amounts of land and depends on cars in that sort of way.

“When you ask people what are their favourite cities in the world, they talk about compact cities. They can’t imagine building it for themselves.”

This includes a residential building that promotes a sustainable and healthy lifestyle. An environment that is more compact is healthier for us and healthier for the environment.

“I think generally the majority of the Greater Toronto area is pretty much built out and there isn’t a lot of green-fill lefts,” says Bindya Lad, a master’s student of architecture at the University of Toronto. “I see a lot of developers taking sites that can accommodate greater densities that are maybe underdeveloped.”

Lad also works for the Toronto Society of Architects. She has a previous background in urban planning and lives in Mississauga.

“So I know some things about development. I’m in my third year at university. By the end of 2008, I would have graduated. I’m hoping to get onto licensing and acquire more experience and knowledge in the field. What I’m really interested in is multi-family housing.”

What Lad is talking about is similar to the kind of “Who’s the Boss?” type of living, if you remember the former television program.

“With a lot of immigrants coming in they can’t afford any houses and they share the house with their relatives,” Lad says. “Then you have elderly families living with their sons and daughters. People who cannot afford a house and they live in many houses. In my point of view, it’s kind of a better way of living it promotes greater living in single-family homes. It’s better utilization of space. Multi-families can form a support for one another.”

Lad plans to do her master’s research on this topic.

The Toronto Society of Architects has 1,000 members. They include historians, environmentalists and anyone who is generally interested in architecture and urban planning.

As the chair of the society, Gomez-Palacio also does work in Halifax, Regina, and Moncton. As he was driving his rented car, his sons were looking for a documentary on squirrels. At the ages of 2 and 4, Gomez-Palacio said they do not even know what a documentary is. With a future in home building that is more sustainable as both Lad and Gomez-Palacio suggest, the boys will have the chance to watch real-life squirrels as they are walking from their homes to buy milk when they are older.

Let it go or organize it (Originally Published in New Dreamhomes and Condominiums Magazine)

Getting a new dream home or condo is a great thing to come into your life. It’s getting and keeping it organized that is the key. 

Feng shui the Sharon Hay way includes less clutter so the energy flow is better in the home and condo. That is not an event but a lifestyle.

“The more you de-clutter the more comes in and opportunities and other things fall into place,” Hay says.

Hay says there are nine stations of life and different elements enhance aspects of life. Each element has a colour and a shape. 

“I get their [clients’] year of birth which gives me which directions are best for success,” Hay says. “I find out how many bedrooms, how long they’ve been living there how old the building is…what’s been going on in their life, if they just got married, if they just changed careers? We go forward to remove any blockages and enhance with the elements.”

Landscaping inside and outside the home is important in organizing the feng shui way. Artificial trees, pictures, and plants help to avoid negative environmental influences. Even with a condo you would need more pictures of flowers and vibrant colours of plants and trees.

“Too much red is too stimulating, too much fire energy,” says Hay. “If someone has a lot of kids they have to keep it fairly grounded. Oranges, beiges, taupes, yellows, and things in square patterns. You can have square pillows on the couch. It gives a lot more of a feeling of security. [The parents] have to try and keep the toys under control and if things are out in the hallway and picking the rubber ducky off your kitchen counter – things become chaotic, hard to think, hard to focus, the relationship gets stressed.”

Hay says a lot about organizing is going with your gut feelings. Holding onto things you do not need can make you lose money or lose out on opportunities.

“The more you let go, the more new fresh vibrant energy comes in. It’s been handed down through generations – give it away.”

As Nada Thomson, a professional organizer with Artful Organizers was preparing to set her parking time on her cellphone over breakfast she added her experience to organizing a new dream home or condo.

“It was a beautiful home in Oakville…a beautiful new community there and the home was just sprawling and lovely and architecturally interesting and there was a lot of storage available in the kitchen,” Thomson said. “They put a lot of thought into how they were going to organize the kitchen – what cabinets they were going to order. So I helped them with the unpacking of their move. I wasn’t around for the packing – they were coming from another city. They brought me in to help them unpack all of their stuff.”

Thomson was at work with her clients to help them to use the space. She had to ask them many questions.

“Are they bakers, do they love to cook, what age group are the guests, do they have sleep-over guests, do they need a home office? All of these things I needed to know about in order to plan the storage use for them.”

Thomson mentions there are two ends of the scale when it comes to storage space that is so important in organizing your new home. There are some places that do not have enough storage and others that have more than enough. The home she worked with in Oakville had more than enough.

“I’ve seen in other homes that have had an excess amount of storage space that there’s really very little thought that goes into unpacking things. So there’ll be baking material all over the kitchen, they’ll be food all over the kitchen and in every cupboard. There’s no flow. It takes time to find things and then things get cluttered up because people don’t know where to put things back and then the next person can’t find what they’re looking for, and the process goes on.”

Thomson found baskets at Canadian Tire that come in three different sizes to use for storage space.

“They were about three inches deep and they come in three sizes and they’re actually perfect for deeper shelves,” Thomson said. “We could put all the snacks into one and all of the dogs treats into another one and canned goods so it becomes this drawer that they could pull out so they have the freedom of using the drawers without having to have custom drawers made on each shelf.”

Rose Cerullo is a professional home organizer with Inspiring Spaces.

“That’s the key thing about organizing,” says Cerullo. “By making organizing a process so you develop a system. That makes it fun. Organizing is constant change. For example, just putting 15 minutes a day over a month is hours which is a movement towards your project which makes you feel good. People think it’s going to take so long but taking a baby step [you can] have enough energy to do other things. Do a little bit more, do a little more, like creating a memory that organizing is ok.”

Cerullo encourages her clients to organize things in 10 to 15-minute spurts. This way it becomes a regular practice that is like a journey similar to Sharon Hay’s approach that does it through feng shui.

“I’ve been doing this for four years and when I started, I started helping clients who were pack rats,” says Cerullo. “They were collectors and didn’t necessarily tune into the energy of how it doesn’t feel good having all that stuff in their place. People who are organized, who are busy and are sensitive to how their environment feels there’s a common denominator with all of them want a better system. They have other things that are a priority who ask for your services. ‘I’m spending too much time doing this over and over and over again, how can I make it more efficient.’”

Cerullo describes a client of hers that was magazine perfect when it came to her décor but needed help with a dozen work projects she was doing from home. Her file folders were flowing.

“I asked her do you use it

regularly, occasionally rarely, or never. Then I asked her to get post-its in front of the drawers that she never uses. I had her sit at her computer and identify all the broad categories of her project for the next 12 months. And all the broad categories I had her type them in caps – creating an index. Then the sub-categories were determined in small letters.”

Cerullo left her client with 15 minutes of homework and organizing an appointment with herself. Going to one of those drawers that she rarely uses and get a banker’s box and put the files in the box the order she had them in her drawer. Then they were to be labeled on the outside and relocate it to another area in her room like her furnace room because that is where she has the extra space. The client would e-mail Cerullo and this establishes the habit.

“The key is to schedule time and to follow through with the organizing. Then you feel the energy to do something else. You can apply it to any area of your life. In bite-size chunks and feel energetic after you do it – that’s the key thing you want to feel good about it.”

Cerullo says she is attracting more people who see the value of being organized. They don’t feel overwhelmed anymore. If you’re looking for someone who could help you organize your dream home or condo, please look up the Professional Organizers in Canada for contact information to find someone right for you.

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Hot home office for resale (Originally Published in New Dreamhomes and Condominiums Magazine)

The second-floor office had books everywhere floor to ceiling and a little laptop. It was part of a house going on the market for resale.

Nada Thomson with Artful Organizers went through the books and boxed the ones that weren’t really attractive.

“We staged the bookshelves with about a quarter of the books, rather than it being like a library, it was more of a decorative bookshelf arrangement – more than a functional library,” Thomson says.

The lowest shelf had books from side-to-side; the other shelf had some books to the left, then some ornaments. The shelf above had a picture with some books so they would be loosely stacked. Thomson also removed some book spaces as well, to make it a more comfortable space.

“I don’t remember how quickly it sold, but I know they had more than asking,” said Thomson.

Thomson had to clean up this office – this is her job and it took a number of sessions to complete. She is Founder and Chief Consultant of Artful Organizers. Among the many tasks she does, she helps people who want to sell their homes to organize places like their offices.

“People buy up, they don’t want to buy parallel they don’t want to buy down,” Thomson says.

This is why it’s important to help potential buyers imagine living there.

“If you invite people into your home you would have them in the most welcoming fashion,” Thomson says. “Because you have special guests coming over, you pack those things away. It’s not that much different when you have buyers coming into your home.”

If your office is polluted with paper and the bookshelves are crammed full, it’s exhausting to be around.

The number one rule for Thomson is zoning.  Everything of one kind must be stored together for ease of use. Thomson also needs to know a bit about who she is working with; specifically, are they right-brained or left-brained or somewhere in the middle. 

“With right-brained people, I endeavour to keep their zoned categories in highly visible places and with left-brained people; I endeavour to tuck their zoned categories well out of sight,” she says. “You see, the ‘righties’ need to see it for it to ‘exist,’ so, I will do things so they can separate categories without taking up copious amounts of space, on bookshelves –  taxes; bills; medical; hobby – and the like.” 

This way, Thomson says there are no drawers to open to fully grasp what you must deal with. 

“‘Lefties’ have the visual filing system in their brains, so it is OK to put their stuff into drawers; they actually prefer things to be completely out of sight.

“Then there are people like me who fall into the middle – I like some things to be visible and some things to be tucked out of sight; anyway it is set up, I can find it.” 

These things will help in figuring out how to organize your home office for re-sale.

Thomson advises that small spaces shouldn’t have clunky computers. The office space area should show the computer, the chair, the printer and the basic things you need. You need to be realistic in making the teeny, tiny little room show organization. Sometimes it’s just a table that tucks in.

She says black plastic cabinet boxes for organizing are recommended. When planning a move, box as much stuff as possible ahead of time. Try to gain space – pack up and store. For things you need to have on hand, it needs to be containerized in an attractive way.

When it comes to larger spaces there is the luxury of more space. You may use a bedroom for an office. People coming in will wonder if it’s big enough for a bed. When advertising a place and showing a place, you should show the number of listed bedrooms.

“If there’s any question on size, we need to relocate that office to a transition area like a basement if that’s a possibility or transition the idea as a guest bedroom/office. Pack up one of the angles on the desk. It’s not going to be ideal to live like that, but you would have to live like that.”

Most people can use any room as an office. Louise Edwards is a Sales Associate with Re/Max and helps people to move up. She says so many people work from home and questions the advantages in one for resale when it comes to taxes.

“Is it advantageous in resale?” Edwards asks. “When it’s time to re-sale on a home office you must pay taxes on it upon the profits from the income.”

She also says many people will still work from home – simply without claiming the income and the space on their taxes. Then it doesn’t become an issue for being a hot property.

Getting from A to B in home building (Originally Published in New Dreamhomes and Condominiums Magazine)

From acquiring the land to build a home, to choosing its tradespeople, to the time it takes to build a home and good and bad stories about building – Townwood and Baywood Homes share their knowledge on getting from A to B in the building.

The first step in building is that the land needs to be acquired. Tony Guglietti is the President of Townwood Homes.

“In acquiring raw land for development, the process of taking it from its original state to a finished community can take anywhere from three years to 20 years,” says Guglietti. “Depending on the status of the raw land and where it falls within the development process of the official plan of a municipality.”

Natascha Pieper is Director of Marketing and Sales with Baywood Homes. Her job involves market research, product positioning and managing the sales for low and high rise residential developments.

“Our land acquisitions are selected by sourcing key locations, a neighbourhood up-and-coming, and kind of forseen where the market will go and get in there sooner,” says Pieper. “Our key location is the downtown market, even areas up north, more resort-style communities, like the Muskoka and Collingwood. The up-and-coming neighbourhoods that attract the vacationers.”

Baywood homes are currently working on an Embassy project. They have entered into a community that was definitely artistic in nature and had to position themselves to be sensitive to the artistic culture.

“We had to blend into the neighbourhood,” Pieper says. “You can’t come in and build an eyesore.”

Pieper also says that with the whole greenbelt legislation it’s pushing people up north and in the downtown location. Now there are a lot of low-rise builders that are becoming highrise builders. It’s cleaning up a lot of neighbourhoods. The municipalities are helping out. From her point of view, these are some of the considerations in acquiring land.

Guglietti of Townwood Homes says location is a prime consideration in acquiring land.

“The estimated length of time the development process will take, the yield the land will produce and the type of community the municipality envisions within their planning process,” Guglietti says are all things to consider.

Natascha Pieper says the selection of tradespeople and the company to actually build the home is important.

“More and more builders are creating a brand – JD Power and Associates, the trades play a significant role in that,” Pieper says. “Quality materials, we have a lot of meetings to make sure there’s open communication.”

Guglietti of Townwood Homes agrees.

“Reliability, reputation, workmanship, past projects they have completed as well as their competitiveness to acquire the contract,” says Guglietti. “The most expensive trade or the least expensive trade is not necessarily a deciding factor. It’s how they perform and their ability to complete the job on a timely basis and to our specified standards.”

Once the key players are set, it can take months to build a home. Guglietti says it takes five months on average from the time a building permit is obtained. Pieper with Baywood Homes says it could possibly take 10 months depending on whether there are delays.

“Delays can come on a municipal level,” Pieper says. “They may not be accommodating quick closings. Municipalities are improving on that, to indicate the importance. A delay can come from people making so many customized changes to their plan. This happens more. Moving walls around, this can create delay, but consumers are always satisfied to accept the delay because they’re getting the home that they want even if they’re able to close at a later date. Most of the time, delays are unforeseen. It could be struck that sets us back. Getting approvals. Especially with low-rise.”

Tony Guglietti says the organization is the key to completing on time.

“How well you are organized is critical to completing a home on time,” Guglietti says. “Many factors though can be beyond your control through work stoppages caused by labour shortage, material shortage, strikes, and inclement weather.”

Both Pieper and Guglietti say Baywood Homes and Townwood Homes respectively build all-year round, although the winter is a difficult time to build.

Guglietti shares some of his success stories with building with Townwood Homes.

“Many years ago we were one of the first builders to re-introduce the bungalow to the GTA new home market,” says Guglietti. “We were taken back by the response to this ‘new’ plan and during this process, we were able to assist with the needs of many families seeking easier access to their homes for disabled family members.”

Pieper notes environmental reasons as one of the successes Baywood Homes has had in the building.

“Energy Star, we’re building Energy Star homes now to get involved with the green initiative,” Pieper says. “We’re building our first four Energy Star homes in Bowmanville and north Oshawa, Napa Valley and Ravines of Greenhill. It’s just where the industry is going right now. The production quality of the home has improved. Homeowners are ecstatic. People are genuinely interested in having an Energy Star home. They’re interested in the energy cost-savings.”

Pieper says Baywood Homes finished 7th the past year from 24th with JD Power. This has been the third-year surveying the homebuilders.

“We have customer care right on-site, to respond quicker and quicker runtimes.”

Although these are success stories, there are some things to watch out for in-home building too.

“Fire is a fear of all new home builders and in one instance as an occurrence of a fire that spread from an adjacent builder, we were able to rebuild a purchaser’s home and much to their relief move them in on their original closing date,” says Guglietti.

Pieper says tradespeople have been a problem in the past.

“The only bad situations are when you’re relying on specific trades,” says Pieper. “If they’re not sending their best crews, you hold up other trades. It’s a whole domino effect. A B, C, D crews – you have your good crews and your bad crews. Kind of like sports, you have the A team and B teams.”

Becoming Your Voice

Sandra Whiting via 8:39 AM (2 hours ago)
Spring 2019Becoming Your Voice“There’s an African Proverb that states, “Until the Story of the hunt is told by the Lion, the tale of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.” Be the Lion – Sandra WhitingSandra SehI have been busy these past few months and so now have time “to put pen to paper”. See yah you realize soon many people won’t know what that means??I have been telling stories to hundreds nay thousands of school children & young adults and to adults in libraries; in their workplaces; speaking & M.C’ing at various events and also working as a facilitator with the Institute for Change Leaders headed by Olivia Chow.
I am also in the midst of winding down my volunteer commitment to PACE Canada where it has been my pleasure and honour to serve.
I can truly say that giving back always feels good. It is not always easy. It requires time and commitment but is so worthwhile.
I have also now been working with Max Agency and am on my way to getting some small bookings. I find it exciting and this is/was on my bucket list and I aim to jump in and learn and stretch myself a lot.
I invite you to do the same. Is there something you have long wanted to try but have been hesitant? Take the plunge and as Nike says Just Do It!!
It has always been my practice to say YES to new projects; new initiatives and it has always paid off in spades.
So with that in mind I am offering a workshop on Event Planning and I hope to see you there and I will continue to tell my stories to bigger and new audiences so will be focusing on getting more of those speaking gigs.
Exciting and a bit nerve wracking but I always say Yes-to new adventures.Join me on my ride!!!The Nuts and Bolts of Event PlanningFINDING SATISFACTION THROUGH VOLUNTEER SERVICEIn today’s fast-paced society, it is easy to get focused on ourselves and our goals—to become a bit self-absorbed. But those who have been around long enough know that only taking care of you doesn’t lead to long-term happiness. No, some of the greatest satisfactions in life come from serving others, from the knowledge that you have brightened someone’s day or improved their life. Giving of your time gives you purpose, and helps you connect more deeply with others—and life without purpose and interpersonal connections is no life at all.
When I first arrived in To many years ago I sought out an organization to begin volunteering with and got steered to Central Neighbourhood House and became a Big Sister. The first experiences were challenging and racism reared its ugly head with my being told by a mother that she didn’t want “no n——-r around her child”. The contact who had taken me to the home was shocked and didn’t know what to say but the young girl told her Mum “I want to go with her”. She had put on her best blue dress for the occasion and she was ready and so was I. 
Read moreSandra Whiting on the importance of storytellingwith CBC’s Nana aba DuncanAhead of receiving the Rose Fortune award at the 2019 Ontario Black History Society’s Black History Month kickoff event, storyteller Sandra Whiting talks about why she shares stories from West Africa and the Caribbean
Listen to the interview here.What I’ve been up to…EM Mills 2019 Womens day event Wednesday March 6, 2019 a 150 came together to network and just have a chill evening celebrating an lifting up each other. Words of wisdom was shared, stories told by Sandra WhitingBBPA WOMEN’S MONTH EVENT: A DIALOGUE WITH BLACK WOMENSandra Whiting shared how the Obama method of engagement works with effective storytelling sharing her story How I got involved in community affairs and volunteering.Board Member and Host at the Titans Of Toronto Reggae Concert Sandra Whiting with the stars of Reggae Titans.Upcoming EventsPACE Canada Strawberry SocialDear Friends,This will be my last Pace Strawberry Tea as President and / Chair of the event as my term will have come to an end by May 27. It has been an honour and a pleasure to serve. I would be so delighted to see you at the Social.You can email me directly or better still go online (see link below) and note my name in the comments section so I can keep track.Thank YouBecoming a StorytellerHow to be Noah; Becoming the StoryWe Become the Story We Tell OurselvesI’ve made it a habit to find out what drives someone, the first time we meet. I find that knowing this reveals more about a person than politics, religion or any of the normal things people use to distinguish themselves.More
Testimonials”Sandra’s talk went very well, it was so nice chatting with her. Whenever I have a new speaker I am often quite anxiously about how it will go etc but once Sandra walked in – all my worries subsided. She went around a spoke to our volunteers before her talk and then mentioned them during her talk – this made a huge impact on our group!
We had the pleasure of having Sandra Whiting provide a talk to our senior volunteers during National Volunteer Week. Sandra brought her entertaining, high energy, engaging and motivational stories and delivered them with heart sprinkled with humor.
If you are looking for a speaker that will make your audience feel good and invoke positive change, Sandra should be your go-to choice. Thank you Sandra!”
Kaylee NorwoodCoordinator, Meals on Wheels, Information & Volunteer ServicesDundas Community Services
Speaking engagement booked by my Agent BrandEQSee Sandra Speak: Upcoming Events!
May 25, 2019 The Nuts and Bolts of Event Planning | Workshop | BBPA 180 Elm StreetTO BOOK SANDRA WHITING  Please click HERESign up for Sandra’s BlogFollow Sandra Whiting ‌  ‌  ‌  CONTACT SANDRAPh: 416 573-1375 | E. | SANDRAWHITING.CA
BrandEQ Agency | 1370 Don Mills Road , Suite 300 , Toronto, Ontario M3B 3N7 Canada

Family Fit and Your Home (Originally Published in New Dreamhomes and Condominiums Magazine)

An expanding family is one of the many great reasons to look for a bigger home. Andrea Grace and her husband Ted have a 13-year-old girl and a 10-year-old boy and changed from being renters to homeowners.

“We started off renting an apartment,” says Andrea Grace. “We had our daughter while we were living in that apartment. I had to have a backyard for our daughter as she was becoming mobile.”

After the Grace family moved out of their apartment they started renting a house. They needed the extra space and it was also becoming difficult moving basic things like groceries into the apartment while having a young one at your feet.

Now Andrea, Ted, and the Grace children have gone from renting a home to owning one in Richmond Hill.

“We bought a resale home, at the time we were renting our house we couldn’t afford a new home,” says Andrea Grace. “We bought an older home and did a lot of renovations.”

They gutted the house because it was in bad shape. The original house had wallpaper and they had to rip down a wall as well as the carpet.

“We didn’t have to do anything to the basement. Every single room needed attention,” says Andrea.

The renovations cost the Grace family about $20,000 right off the bat and they are still ongoing.

Andrea is happy that her family has moved into the new home. Her husband Ted was always against buying a house.

“Now we own this home and it’s great. It’s such a great feeling to do whatever we want to do to this house. In a few years, I’d like to move to a bigger and newer home.”

When Andrea is not taking care of her boy and girl or renovating her new home she is the owner of Mommy and Baby The company does post-natal fitness, mom and baby yoga, aqua classes, and workouts.

They use colourful parachutes and bubbles to increase brain and motor skill stimulation in babies.

“It’s a good way to meet other moms. The babies learn early social skills and songs and rhymes. It’s better health for babies,” says Andrea.

Christopher Dolson works for Aluma Systems in sales that does form and shoring in the concrete industry. He has two girls, five and two with his wife Michele and also bought a bigger home because of an expanding family.

He bought his new home about three years ago. The Dolson family wanted something a little bigger when their second child was coming.

“We were having our second kid,” says Dolson. “It’s a two-storey and it’s called a link home.”

The family paid around $300,000 for their three-bedroom home in Markham.

“When we were looking we gave a price range that we were interested in and our agent kept showing us houses that were at the top end of what we looking in,” says Dolson. “We realize that with these bigger homes you still have to sink money into them. We’d have to do things like carpets and things like that. We kind of had to sit down with our agent and find something at the lower end of the price range and sink more money in. Once we started looking for homes like that…once they came down in scale like that. It was our second home that we looked at and that’s the one we went with.”

Chris Dolson and his family now have a little bit more room than the townhouse they were living in before. The new home has a two-car garage and a bigger backyard.

“We’re on a cul-de-sac so it’s a quiet street.”

Everyone needs their space including children. With the boom in the housing market and many new homes available all over the GTA, there are many options available for families who are looking for a home with the right fit for their needs.

Everything has a place (Originally Published in New Dreamhomes and Condominiums Magazine)

Rose Cerullo, Professional Home Organizer with Inspiring Spaces

That’s the key thing about organizing. By making organizing a process so you develop a system. That makes it fun. Organizing is constant change. For example, just putting 15 minutes a day over a month is hours which is a movement towards your project which makes you feel good. People think it’s going to take so long but taking a baby step and having enough energy to do other things. Do a little bit more, do a little more, like creating a memory that organizing is Ok.

It’s likely you’ll devote the 10 minutes and stop cause you know it’s a process it’s not an end.

Sometimes they don’t know how to get the ball going. They don’t know where to begin. So that requires someone else helping them whether it’s a professional, friend, colleague. But that’s a learning thing.

I’ve been doing this four years and when I started I started helping clients who were pack rats were collectors and didn’t necessarily tune into the energy of how it doesn’t feel good of having all that stuff in their place. People who are organized who are busy and are sensitive to how their environment feels there’s a common denominator with all of them they want a better system they have other things that are a priority who ask for your services. I’m spending too much time doing this over and over and over again, how can I make it more efficient.

I had a client that was magazine perfect, the décor, everything has a place and she walked into the office and I asked her how can I help you. She has about a dozen new projects and the file folders are filed in her drawers and she doesn’t have enough space.

I asked her do you use it regularly, occasionally rarely, or never. Then I asked her to get post it in front of the drawers that she never uses. I had her sit at her computer and identify all the broad categories for her project for the next 12 months. And all the broad categories I had her type them in caps. Creating an index. Then the sub-categories were determined in small letters.

I left her with a 15-minute homework and organizing an appointment with herself. Going to one of those drawers that she rarely uses and get a banker’s box and put the files in a banker’s box in the order she had them in her drawer. Then label on the outside and relocate it to another area in her room like her furnace room because that’s where she has the extra space. Then she would e-mail Rose and this establishes the habit. The key is to schedule time with herself and to follow through with the organizing. Then you feel energy to do something else.

You can apply it to any area of your life. In bite-size chunks and feel energetic after you do it – that’s the key thing you want to feel good about it.

I’m attracting more people who see the value of being organized. They don’t feel overwhelmed anymore.

Sharon Hay – 647-222-8151 e-mail:

Feng Shui way by Hay – The less clutter the energy flow is going to be a lot better in the home and condo and that’s not an event it’s a lifestyle. The more you declutter the more comes in and opportunities and other things fall into place.

There are nine stations of life so different elements will enhance different elements of your life. Each element has a colour and a shape.  I get their year of birth which gives me which directions are best for success and fullness rest. I find out how many bedrooms, how long they’ve been living there how old the building is. What’s been going on in their life, if they just got married if they just changed careers. We got forward to remove any blockages and enhance with the elements.

Usually, there’s not much landscaping outside and because we’re only four seasons there are only certain things to enhance that. Even artificial trees, pictures, plants help as well  – missing the negative environmental influences. Even with a condo, they would need more pictures of flowers and vibrant colours of plants and trees.

For stability, interlocking brick is nice, you can have so many trees that you can’t find the house. It’s about balance.

Too much red is too stimulating, too much fire energy. If someone has a lot of kids they have to keep it fairly grounded. Oranges, beiges, taupes, yellows, and things in square patterns. You can have square pillows on the couch – a lot more a feeling of security.

They have to try and keep the toys under control and if things are out in the hallway and picking the rubber ducky off your kitchen counter – things become chaotic, hard to think, hard to focus, the relationship gets stressed.

Muted colours in rooms with kids – in a room where they’re going to spending a lot of time – pastels are better.

Too many hard lines and also have the vibrant colours the parents would be feeling I would just like to get in and get out. The clouds and softer shaped things and especially the ones that are new to feel more relaxed.

Charming the home inside and out (Originally Published in New Dreamhomes and Condominiums Magazine)

Lorissa Leslie, an interior decorating student at George Brown College, believes in charming the home inside by getting back to basics.

“Back to basics, back to nature and calming…serenity and staying away from the chaos from the GTA,” says Leslie.

These are her tips for how to create a beautiful home on the inside. She is strengthening the foundation of these tips through study and developed the foundation of these tips from where she grew up.

Leslie came from the east coast because there are not many colleges east of Montreal where she had an opportunity to study interior decorating.

“I thought I would have to do it online in New Brunswick but I had the opportunity to come here so I just came.”

Leslie does not know what drew her to interior decorating – to travel across Canada with the aim of studying the art.

“I don’t know I just get excited over accessories and sourcing and finding those pieces that match and fit perfectly together.”

Leslie works at a furniture store and finds there are certain trends she sees in interior design.

“Grey is really popular right now,” Leslie says. “Chocolate brown is still going strong of course, as in chocolate brown leather. We have a white lacquer item that is popular.”

The trends follow with Leslie’s recommendations of what she feels make for a wonderful sanctuary in any dream home or condominium. She suggests a look that is contemporary but comfortable. Something with clean lines yet casual – sophisticated but still casual makes a strong impression and feels great.

“[These are] part of the principles and elements of design,” says Leslie. “Horizontal lines make us think of lying down. They are more calming. Vertical lines are more formal. On a pillow, this has an impact.

Natural elements and earth tones, different browns, different shades of browns – which wasn’t so revered in some years before but still is in the last couple of years.”

For the past 35 years. Peter Carelli has been a painter. He does have a true talent for making things beautiful. Sitting down with a young man named Cyrus in his neighbourhood he was teaching him how to draw. When it is cold and it’s hard for him to get work to make homes beautiful with painting them inside and out. Times are difficult however he sticks with it.

“I like art, like painting.”

He has been married for more than 30 years and has three older children. He makes his living painting houses when the weather is good – making them beautiful on the outside.

He does know how to read English well, however, he can speak it quite well and is fluent in Italian.

“It depends on when I got the job, if I don’t make money, I don’t get the job.”

He did not go to school for art. “It’s a personal talent – born artist.”

His favourite paintings are of European villages. “Because it’s a little bit more difficult to paint – it’s more talent.”

He has not ever had a gallery opening and cannot afford to pay a gallery to show his work. So he paints houses and sometimes works at pizza shops to make money.

He lives downtown and owns his own house. His wife takes in sewing.

“If I haven’t made nothing ‘till now…I’m not going to make nothing. I’ve lost hope. That’s my mind – it makes me believe when I do it – when I don’t.”

At one of the most hopeful times of her life as a student, Lorissa Leslie does not own her own home however she has been told by people who visit her place that it is “cozy.”

“I’m still in a rental so I haven’t done everything that I’d like to. I do get compliments though that it’s very cozy. I haven’t gone crazy with the colours yet. I haven’t painted yet. I’m working on improving the patio. There are more natural elements with the sea glass colours in the bathroom. The kind of glass you find in the ocean…I love that. The greens and blues you find in the ocean – the magical little pieces – the sparkling little gems that I get when I’m walking on the beach.”

These are just some of the people in the Greater Toronto Area that work to make a living and make a home charming inside and out.

Heathwood Homes @ the 407 (Originally Published in New Dreamhomes and Condominiums Magazine)

From top to bottom – Heathwood Homes has what you need. From towering nine feet ceilings to more than two-inch thick hardwood flooring – these are homes you can feel proud to own in the Mississauga and Brampton area – all with easy access from the 407.

“One of the things we find is the land is available and we find that exciting,” President of Heathwood Homes, Hugh Heron says. “It’s right on the cusp of Mississauga and the airport. The transportation is so important to be in. It’s one of the few places we can take advantage of both cities: Brampton and Mississauga.”

With comfortable living room space, you can call Brampton and Mississauga your home. The kitchens have granite kitchen countertops with cabinets and baseboards you can custom design.

There are ceramic flooring in the foyer, important bathroom and laundry areas. Handrails have a natural finish of the wood. The lower level is finished for space you can be creative with and central air conditioning keeps you cool in the summer months.

You can have all this with a starting asking price of $296,900.

“One of the things it’s a community per se and we have a very large vantage point that’s going to be an entry into Mississauga and it’s going to be a destination,” Heron says.

For more than 20 years, Heathwood has been known for delivering homes people can build families in, cherish memories and begin new lives.

“Heathwood Homes has been meeting and exceeding homeowner expectations in design, quality, value and customer service.”

These new homes by the 407 are located at Mavis Road and Highway 407. Heathwood Homes is currently showing phase one at Terracotta Village in the Credit Valley. The collection of homes will soon be comprised of 141 condominium townhomes – nestled inside an exclusive enclave. This collection of homes has its own community park, pond, and walking trails. A distinctive water feature at the entry to the neighbourhood will be visible from the 407.

Located just north of the 406 and steps from Credit Valley,  Heathwood Homes is also minutes from Highways’ 401, 410, and 427, allowing for an easy commute to anywhere in the GTA.

 Included with just living in these great homes, there are spectacular amenities such as shopping, schools, golf courses, parks, and conservation land.  

“In addition, each home incorporates the most advanced energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly features. The homes will be constructed to the ENERGY STAR® standard and will feature Low-E Argon vinyl windows, a high-efficiency furnace, water-saving toilets, aerators on the taps and all shower heads, and more.”

The condominium townhomes at the Terracotta range in size from 1,434 to 2,013 square feet and are priced from $296,900.

To book your personal appointment call 905-874-4741 or visit

Reading for Less (Originally Published on The

At the time I was really young, I used to love buying books. I think in some ways I had more money then. I didn’t pay rent and my food was free. Everything is cheaper when you’re a kid, so for those reading, enjoy it while you can.

I would buy Sweet Valley High books and trade them with the ones my sister bought. I would receive great books like the Invisible Man from my brother. I spent a fortune buying Danielle Steele, Stephen King, and Jackie Collins books. I collected these books like business cards and only in rare exceptions parted with them.

One time when I was in Montreal, I came across a little Middle Eastern restaurant where I bought a book by Jean Toomer called Cane for $2 CDN.  This is one of the best books I have read. Toomer is from the pre-Harlem Renaissance of writers in African-American writers. I lent the book to a former colleague and friend and haven’t seen it since.

Deals for buying books can be found in many bookstores, but there’s nothing better than going to the library. Even though I felt the loss of losing Cane, at least I had read the book. This is the experience you can have when you go to the library. Get something you enjoy and just return it on time and everything is fine.

Many library systems are online where you can order the book you want and it comes to your local library which may be closer than your bookstore. I’ve read everything from The Life of Pi and The Romantic by a great author Barbara Gowdy through the library system. Sometimes just hanging around a library is a great way to get good ideas of what to read and meet interesting people. I once dated someone I met at the library.

Make sure you bring these books back. Don’t forget the library also has videos, DVDs, CDs, and magazines for you to borrow as well. That can be a great way to increase your knowledge too.

I once borrowed an Anne of Green Gables movie from my local library and was in the middle of a move, so I misplaced the video. I felt so bad because I had such a clean record with the library. It took a while for me to get my priorities sorted for me to get to the library and pay for the video. At least that was more than a year ago and I have my library privileges back. I’m so happy.

If there’s a book you really want to own, garage sales often have books for as low as 25 cents. You can build a library from garage sales alone. Plus check out your Goodwill and Salvation Army for any bargains.

Used bookstores are everywhere. And if you’re like me and sometimes just can’t find what you’re looking for, you can do what someone I know has done – you can buy the book, read it without breaking the spine and return it.


Pawn Shops – The Frugal Shopping Experience (Originally Published on The

The first time I dealt with a pawn shop was at the corner of Queen and Jarvis Streets in Toronto. I needed a mini-disc to do some freelance radio reporting and had asked two friends of mine if they could lend me theirs. They couldn’t. So with the Hi-8 video camera, I had bought to do television work, I did a swap with the vendor – my video camera for the mini-disc. The mini-disc was worth $120 CDN and I still keep the price tag on it.

Naturally, when I was low on the money once again, I thought of a pawn shop, and it’s hard not to do when you’re living in a neighbourhood that has them. I pawned an engagement ring on a pawn shop on Yonge Street. Cruel, I know, but I needed the money. The diamonds even came from South Africa. Sometimes money is a girl’s better-needed friend.

Then when I needed a digital camera, I went to a pawn shop once again. This one is at the corner of Queen and Dufferin Streets in Toronto. I love my digital camera and I’ve become a better photographer because of it. It gives me a natural high to download the images onto my computer.

Speaking of my computer, I bought my computer at the same pawn shop. I just walked in, took a good look at it and bought it. It cost about $300 CDN for a Pentium 4. Not too bad I think. I already had a keyboard (which needs cleaning) and a monitor and got the speakers later for about $9 CDN with tax for Canada Computer on College Street in Toronto. Canada Computer is not a pawn shop, but you can get good deals from there too. They do have a used store of computer goods at the corner of College and Borden.

I bought my 15” flat screen monitor at the corner of College and Spadina underneath a store that advertises for mice extermination. It’s a BenQ that I bought for about $100 CDN. The prices for computers continue to go down and you can find great deals on all kinds of electronic stuff.

Pawn shops and used stores are not just a good way to get electronics stuff. You can also buy guitars, video games, and jewellery. I thought it would always be a good idea to get wedding bands or engagement rings from a pawn shop since I’ve learned to live with less.

Good luck with your shopping!


Pawn Shops – The Frugal Shopping Experience (Originally Published on The

The first time I dealt with a pawn shop was at the corner of Queen and Jarvis Streets in Toronto. I needed a mini-disc to do some freelance radio reporting and had asked two friends of mine if they could lend me theirs. They couldn’t. So with the Hi-8 video camera, I had bought to do television work, I did a swap with the vendor – my video camera for the mini-disc. The mini-disc was worth $120 CDN and I still keep the price tag on it.

Naturally, when I was low on the money once again, I thought of a pawn shop, and it’s hard not to do when you’re living in a neighbourhood that has them. I pawned an engagement ring on a pawn shop on Yonge Street. Cruel, I know, but I needed the money. The diamonds even came from South Africa. Sometimes money is a girl’s better-needed friend.

Then when I needed a digital camera, I went to a pawn shop once again. This one is at the corner of Queen and Dufferin Streets in Toronto. I love my digital camera and I’ve become a better photographer because of it. It gives me a natural high to download the images onto my computer.

Speaking of my computer, I bought my computer at the same pawn shop. I just walked in, took a good look at it and bought it. It cost about $300 CDN for a Pentium 4. Not too bad I think. I already had a keyboard (which needs cleaning) and a monitor and got the speakers later for about $9 CDN with tax for Canada Computer on College Street in Toronto. Canada Computer is not a pawn shop, but you can get good deals from there too. They do have a used store of computer goods at the corner of College and Borden.

I bought my 15” flat screen monitor at the corner of College and Spadina underneath a store that advertises for mice extermination. It’s a BenQ that I bought for about $100 CDN. The prices for computers continue to go down and you can find great deals on all kinds of electronic stuff.

Pawn shops and used stores are not just a good way to get electronics stuff. You can also buy guitars, video games, and jewellery. I thought it would always be a good idea to get wedding bands or engagement rings from a pawn shop since I’ve learned to live with less.

Good luck with your shopping!

The GM Oshawa announcement from Dennis DesRosiers

I like the announcement … first and foremost they are taking care of their existing workers with possibly the best exit package ever offered in this industry. Second, the investment in a stamping operation is really smart in that component jobs are higher value-added and more secure than assembly jobs and the 300 workers affected will have long term job security. The third is the adding of a test track for autonomous and electric vehicle testing. The future of the Canadian automotive sector is the ‘six inches between our ears’ and this investment fits perfectly into that category. And it also provides long term job security for the scientists in the research facility across the street from where the test track will be built.

Hope this helps.


See press release attached for details.

Movies on the Cheap (Originally Published on The

With the rise of Paramount theatres and movie ticket prices, finding cheap places and ways to see films is important.

I was a student at Carleton University in Ottawa and the first film I saw at a second-run theatre was Kafka. The theatre experience was just as thrilling as the first time I went to see Star Wars. The screen was huge, the seats were plush and comfortable and the popcorn had real butter. The film was cheap, much cheaper than I would have paid to view it at Cineplex Odeon or Paramount.

I live in Toronto where there are many second-run theatres to choose from. I saw the 2004 Oscar award-winning Million Dollar Baby at the Revue theatre for $3 CDN. Can you believe it? It was $3. It’s true.  

Even at some of the mainstream cinemas are trying to make sure that they can compete with the second-run theatres. Paramount is now the price of inexpensive monthly website hosting. Rainbow Cinemas is the price of a small plant. Catching matinees are always a great way to reduce the cost of a film.

Festivals are a good way to see the kind of films you won’t see commercials about on TV. One time when I was in Ottawa, I saw a great film at the Museum of Civilization called Jit. It was an African movie that inspired me to change my hairstyle at the time.

As well, shops from different ethnicities are a great way to see films from all around the world. Many of these films are dubbed and sold and you can get them at good prices. Yes, you’re not supposed to do it – but many, many, many, many people do.

In terms of buying and renting films, well just about everyone under the sun knows that Blockbuster has no late fees anymore. This doesn’t mean you keep a film as long as you want; of course, you need to read the fine print. However, it does mean you can enjoy a film for a longer period of time.

Blockbuster also sells second-hand DVDs. My old friend Greg was kind enough to buy Sideways for me for $10 CDN.

There are also many second-hand entertainment stores like CD Replay in Toronto which sells second-hand DVDs. Garage sales are great ways to pick up VHS if you’re one of the dinosaurs like me that still has a VCR machine.

If you’re one of those people who truly enjoy the Paramount experience, and I don’t blame you, bring your own crunchies and chewable. Many times the big cost happens at the concession stand and you can save a lot by brown bagging your food experience at the movies.

Enjoy your film, and remember to turn off anything audio-visual.

Montreal: Quelle Ville! (Originally Published on The

What a great city Montreal is – quelle ville! If you buy your bus ticket in advance like I did from Toronto to Montreal for $89 with the tax, you can pay very little for your travel. There are other cheap ways to travel, but please see my Free Ride article for more information on your options.

The subway system is one of the best ways to get around once you’re in the city. I bought six bus tickets for approx. $11, one costs $1.87 CDN. That’s less than Toronto and you can still get the very same world-class feel as T.O. in Montreal.

If you’re lucky enough to have a good friend there like I do, then you can always crash on her coach and show your thanks in the most inexpensive ways you can think of. Such as, I paid for some of her necessary shopping as we walked and scooted around the city to run her errands. I bought her gummy bears and paid for a green tea drink from a health food store at Berri-Uquam Metro – which is one of the central stations close to where the bus is. Shopping with Anna was fun and educational (I learned a lot about good things to buy at health food stores like fresh almonds). This was lots of fun because it reminded what life is like for busy Montrealers and daily living with juggling work and home life.

We mainly shopped around the Mile End, Outremont and Plateau neighbourhoods. These neighbourhoods are French areas, but many people do speak English. Outremont is a rich area and for free you can walk around and see how the other half lives. I don’t think I’ve seen so many Saabs parked in one place in my life.

Anna is a great cook and made fantastic egg noodle pasta (a traditional Italian dish) with parmesan cheese. The trip was so exciting that I didn’t feel like I needed coffee and the sun shines so bright in Montreal that I chose to go with decaffeinated coffee instead. Anna also introduced me to something known as chicory, which is a coffee alternative. I know from experience that West Indians have something like this known as Milo that is also a coffee alternative. I bought the chicory from a health food store on St.Laurent which is also known as the Main (it kind of divides the more English part of Montreal to the west and the more French part of Montreal to the east). The chicory cost only $4.79 for quite a decent size jar and I can get a lot of coffee-tasting flavour out of it. Compare this to spending about that much on a specialty drink at Starbucks.

My main purpose going to Montreal was to help to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Concordia University communications program where I did my graduate studies. It was terrific bumping into old friends and finding out what they’re up to. I even bumped into a notable grad Scott Laurie who is an anchor for CTV in Canada who I didn’t know was a Concordia grad. It helped me reaffirm my feeling that I did go to a good school. Plus, Columbia University is too expensive anyway ;-).

Montreal is a wonderful city when it comes to higher learning. The city has four universities, two English-speaking (Concordia and McGill) and two French-speaking (Université du Montreal and Université du Quebec à Montreal). Just experiencing the campus environment is a big part of taking in life for many people in Montreal.

What wasn’t expensive were the 10K gold earrings I bought at a jewellery store in the Plateau called Bijouterie Zenith. I got a great deal on them – they were practically a steal at $60 CDN without the tax. They’re from Portugal and they’re beautiful as the people from there.

I can’t rave about the nightlife in Montreal, but I do know what it’s like from past experience. There is a lot to do, but often it comes at a price. Clubs come and go, but if you’re into movies – a must-be-there place is Ex-Centris close to St.Laurent and St.Catherine. This movie theatre shows some terrific stuff and has a video imagining to look at when you go to the booth to buy your tickets.

I had some good old-fashioned entertainment on the television with rabbit ears (because the reception in Montreal without cable is good) and watched a modern show like Niptuck on CTV. It’s a show about the lives of plastic surgeons and it was my first time watching it. I found it quite interesting.

The ride back home wasn’t too bad at all. I even got two seats for one because there wasn’t a lot of body traffic on the bus for most of the ride. Montreal in September is a great time to go and you will enjoy it. My trip was short but sweet – and if you’re looking for a power vacation – Montreal is the place to go. Don’t forget a Metro map while you’re there.

Making Coffee on the Cheap (Originally Published on The

You can save a bundle just making coffee or coffee alternatives at home and still get that warm toasty feeling from having your first to the last sip.

This is often a good idea since many restaurants that used to have their “bottomless cup” philosophy on coffee and the price of coffee going up at many places is happening all around the globe. Explore your own kitchen or office to find out the pleasure of making coffee on the cheap.

It’s actually cheaper to buy raw beans and roast them at home then it is to keep buying individual cups of coffee from places like Starbucks, and Second Cup in Canada. You can always go to places like health food stores and bulk barns to pay as little as $4 CDN for a decent size bag that will award you lots of cups. You can also select how finely you would like the beans ground. Another way to do it is to buy a coffee-grinder second-hand and do it yourself at home too.

If you’re the kind who only makes one cup, the three-in-one Asian instant coffee is a good choice. There are also all sorts of options for instant coffee that you can find your cheapest grocery store. Many times what it may lack in taste you can add raw sugar which you can get from Second Cup for free or inexpensively from an economical health food store.

There are many coffee alternatives out there. Chicory is one option, which tastes like coffee, but isn’t. I got a great jar of it from a health food store in Montreal for $4.79 CDN that will afford me a lot of cups. As well, there are many decaffeinated coffees out there that are tasty if you feel you don’t need the jolt, or you’ve already had your fill of caffeine.

Let’s not forget tea. Often it’s a great alternative to coffee and as the colder climates approach it is a great option for a hot beverage. The black teas are some of the best to buy, such as jasmine tea and green tea is extremely good for you and inexpensive to buy in Chinatowns.

There are many ways of making homemade iced tea for when the weather gets warm. Going to a health food store and buying horsetail plus adding green tea, then putting it in the fridge to cool makes for a terrific drink for your hair, eyes, teeth, and nails. You can also make iced coffee at home by crushing ice in any old blender that you may have bought from a garage sale or received as a gift. You can also do this with the tea as well.

Bottoms Up!

How to Make Your Mall Experience a Free One (Originally Published on The

Being in a shopping mall can be an overwhelming experience – especially when you don’t have the cash to spend. But, there are ways to have a good time without spending a cent.

Before you go shopping, you want to make sure you look good. Visit a makeup counter and get a free makeover and look gorgeous while you walk through the mall. It’s also a great form of exercise.

First and foremost – know about samples. Rather than buying anything you need, you can always ask for samples of things and stock them for supplies. This goes for just about anything. For example, I had heard that there was this great hair product called Phyto and went to the mall to get samples every time I needed some. You can do this for face creams, body lotions, and many other toiletries.

Trying on new clothes for the fun of it could give you some great ideas to find cheaper versions of what you love at discount places or to get hand-me-downs from friends.

Once you’re done with looking your best, catch some entertainment by going into an electronics store and watching some of the stuff they have on their screens. Some really nice stores have chairs set up and might even have a new DVD on. You could always ask them to put on something interesting so you can see the quality of the latest flat screen monitor, without having the money to buy it.

What is this world without music? Even the smallest of malls will have one music store and the bigger ones will have more for you to choose from. The best way to find out what’s hot and what’s not is to look at the racks and see how the different CDs are ranked. You can even mellow out by checking out the listening stations in places like HMV and enjoy the tunes.

Speaking of how things are ranked – check out the bookstores for the bestsellers. Books from Dr. Phil or the upcoming biography on Bob Denver you can read for free at Indigo or Chapters. Take your time; some bookstores have places to sit so you can be there for a while. Or squat on the floor.

If you have a child, spend that special time in the children’s department of a bookstore reading to your little one. Toy stores are great ways to keep the kids occupied. Perhaps if they can play with that doll or toy truck in the store, they’ll tire of it and won’t hound you to buy it.

Get decorating ideas that you can do on the cheap from places like the Pottery Barn.

After all this excitement, go to the furniture department and take a nap on one of the luxurious couches of any of the big stores like Sears.

Now after you’ve experienced a fulfilling free time, look for loose change in pay phones and on the ground (it can pay to walk with your head down) go to the mall’s bank and make a small donation to Hurricane Katrina relief (every penny counts as you know).

If you do have a little cash to spend – The Dollar Store is always a great place. For example, I bought a pair of sunglasses for a dollar with black frames from there and took them to a one-hour optical place and paid way more for the prescription lenses than the frames. People are telling me all the time they look like $300 glasses – but I didn’t spend anything near to that.

When you get hungry, try checking out places like Baskin Robbins and many others for samples to get a quick fix. If you go to enough fast food joints for samples, you might even end up feeling full.

All this will make your shopping experience pain-free for your wallet and enjoyable. Have a good time and remember to throw a penny in the waterfall if your major mall has one!

How to Get Fall Clothing on the Cheap (Originally Published on The

The best deal I ever got for Fall was one time when I was in Sudbury shopping with the mother of a friend of mine. I was up there for an interview and she was kind enough to take me to the Value Village. What a great place!

I was able to find a black and white turtleneck sweater, faux suede black pants and a red cardigan that almost equals the Marc Jacobs one I bought for too much money at Holt Renfrew in Toronto. This entire outfit cost $19 CDN with the tax. What a deal!

Ximena, who is a Design Consultant at Neoset Canada Inc. in Toronto, is looking for fall clothes like many of us are.

“I’m looking for jackets with zippers or buttons and long sleeve shirts,” says Ximena.

Ximena is a bargain-shopper and doesn’t plan to spend a lot of money on her clothes.

“Half, I’ll go to Value Village, half I’ll go to the mall so that I can have what’s in style at the moment and then mix-match it.”

The best deal Ximena ever got was at Value Village.

“I bought this gorgeous, gorgeous suede long jacket with real fur on the collar and I got it for $25.”

She mentions that even if you go to Kensington Market in Toronto you would pay at least $100 CDN for a jacket like that.

Value Village is definitely a great place to shop and you can find them in the United States, Canada, and Australia. Like their website says, they are the ultimate in thrift stores when it comes to shopping for clothes.

If free is one of those good four-letter words for you, another alternative to Value Village is holding a clothes party with your friends. I did this one time when I was living in Montreal and it was the idea of my friend at the time, Linnet.

The idea is that since most people only wear 10 percent of the clothes in their closet, they bring the clothes to the party that they want to get rid of or just don’t find themselves wearing. Then, you try on and swap those clothes with your friends at the party. This could be a great form of entertainment as well as doing some free shopping.

If you want to make some cash so you can buy something special that you just can’t find at a shopping party or at Value Village, try selling your clothes at a place like the Ex-Toggery in Toronto. This is only one of the many places where you can take your clothes and they set up an account for you. When your clothes sell, you receive money in your account and then you can cash in. You could, if you choose, use the money to buy the clothes they sell at the Ex-Toggery.

Many places do this sort of thing and the Ex-Toggery is one of the more honest and established places. Take a look in your local Yellow pages or online under “resale clothing” or “buy and sell clothes” to find a good one in your area.

When I was in high school, the Ex-Toggery saved me financially. When I found myself without money I would look through my clothes and take them to the Ex-Toggery to earn some money. But, remember that the Ex-Toggery only takes clothes that are a year old or less old. It needs to be able to sell. Many buy-and-sell clothing stores are like this.

Happy Shopping!

How to Get Dressed for Bed on the Cheap (Originally Published on The

If you have the money, then it’s really nice to invest in bedtime clothes. There are all kinds of beautiful things you can wear to bed, like silk, satin or good quality cotton on a hot night.

But, for the ultra-cheap, wearing your own skin may be the solution to cutting down on the expense of pyjamas. With a warm cover like a duvet, you may not even need that extra layer of clothing.

However, if the nights are getting cooler and the climate where you live is starting to show signs of winter, then there are ways to sleep with clothes that don’t cost a fortune. You may still be able to sleep in silk, satin or good quality cotton.

What do you usually do with your old clothes? I don’t mean the ones that may not fit, but the ones that you figure are not fit for wearing outside the house anymore? One solution is to use them as bedclothes.

I have old Club Monaco tops, a Roots top I got from a friend and pants I don’t wear anymore because they have too many holes in them that are perfectly suited for bedtime. The great thing about some of this old outerwear is that if you need to go out of the house before you’ve had a chance to shower and get your day ready, you can probably afford to look a little shabby in public while you pick up that morning newspaper. Hey, if one of the richest women in the world, Oprah, does it, so can you.

You can also make use of hand-me-down clothes this way as well. For parents that are on a tight budget, this may be a great way to get your children dressed for bed without delving into that extra expense of buying them pyjamas. T-shirts with the Transformers on them may look extremely cute on a boy or a girl. It may not be Dora the Explorer, but you can add that to other parts of their wardrobe based on what you can afford.

Getting back to that silk, satin or good quality cotton – every piece of clothing has its time when it looks more suited for the dumpster than your back. You can still make good use out of these clothes by wearing them to bed and again saving yourself a lot of money in buying fresh clothing.

I have a pair of white satin pants that I’ve had since high school. They make me feel like a Queen when I wear them around the house and to bed. I probably wouldn’t wear these out in public past my front door but to each her or his own.

Remember this can be a cost-effective way to still lounge around the house, get around your neighbourhood to do your chores on the weekends and get a good night’s rest.

Bonne Nuit.

AODA Toolbox – April 2019

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Creating Inclusive Experiences and Events for Travelers with Disabilities
Tourism is a key driver to a successful economy and can bring people from all parts of the world into your place of business. By learning how to serve people with disabilities, businesses can attract more customers, build customer loyalty and improve their services for everyone. To get your business ready for any patron to access your facility or services regardless of their ability, accessibility needs to be at the forefront. Here are things to consider as a first step to creating an inclusive experience for travelers with disabilities:
1. Put the customer first
Develop policies that require all staff and volunteers to be trained on accessibility to know what’s expected of them when they communicate with customers with disabilities – that’s the training piece. For example, if someone approaches a service counter and is having difficulty hearing the person behind the counter, that service provider might pull out of a pad of paper and a pencil and begin communicating with the customer by writing.
For free online accessibility training, visit

2. Learn about existing barriers
A good way to learn about barriers that exist in your workplace is to collect comments from your customers with disabilities. Invite customers to give feedback on how you provide accessible customer service and let them know how to do this. Part of this is ensuring your feedback process is accessible by providing or arranging for accessible formats and communication supports on request. For example, after hosting an event, invite attendees to rate their experience through an online feature on your website.

Planning Accessible Events: So Everyone Feels Welcome is a guide that you can use to integrate accessibility when planning an event.

3. Use your website as a communication tool for accessibility 
In today’s day and age, your website is really the first thing many tourists actually visit. How many people go on a trip without researching things to do first? If your website isn’t accessible for a person with a disability, they may think your business won’t be either. Having information available to visitors before they come into your place of business lets them know what level of accessibility to expect. For example, pre-visit information could describe the distance from the parking lot to the main entrance.
Use the tool to assess your website accessibility, or click hereto go to the Registered Graphic Designers website for various online resources on web accessibility. Accessible Event SignageHave you ever noticed how busy and crowded events can get? What about how difficult it is to get around one? Perhaps some of the challenges were based on the signs at the event.  Good signage and exhibit design, as well as placement, can help everyone get the most out of the event.
If you’re hosting an event, good signage will help people find important points. Once inside, well designed and placed signage will help attendees find the specific vendors or presenters they are looking for. It also helps with identifying a place to rest, finding a snack or the washrooms.
A great starting point for accessible signage is the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 for onscreen information and communications. Add to that, general graphic design best practices and principals, and you should have a great set of guidelines to kick-off your project. Researching what experienced sign and wayfinding experts have done is also a great resource for your projects.
Large signs with higher contrast, large text, and graphics all help make your signs more legible. Make sure your messages are concise and in plain language. The use of photography or graphics behind text may not be a great idea for event signage. However, you should make sure your signs are well branded with the logos of the event or its host, as well as identifiable fonts and colours.
Placing the bottom of signs 2.1–3.0 metres above the floor is a good height for viewing from a distance. Eye level, about 1.2–1.5 metres above the floor, is a good height for general viewing.  Remember to keep the interval of signs as frequent as possible, as well as at any turns and intersections.

Remember to include signage to help people with disabilities. This could include but is not limited to, accessible entrances, ramps and elevators, registration, information or assistance and, specific seating areas.
If you are going to use maps, use linear paths that are complete and explicit. The map placement should be orientated to the correct direction and at a “You Are Here” location. Simplicity will get people to their destinations quicker.

We hope these guidelines help your event be more navigable, and therefore more enjoyable and successful.
Here are some event signage resources: The Association of Registered Graphics Designers Accessibility initiative features several resources that will help you get started on creating a more accessible event.
The Rick Hansen Foundation features a variety of excellent examples to help you, from their Accessibility Certified winners to their Accessibility Team’s activities.
“5 Key Elements of Effective Signage Design” are featured at How Design, an online magazine. has a wealth of visual samples of well-designed signage. Accessible Festivals in Ontario
Ontario has always been a leader in accessibility, and you can see its commitment to remove barriers and foster inclusivity through the types of events hosted in its communities. 
The Stratford Festival is North America’s largest classical repertory theatre company. Stratford, Ontario is home to this internationally renowned festival that focusses on recreating William Shakespeare’s plays. Select dates feature American Sign Language interpreters and have live, descriptive captioning of the performance. The festival also offers “relaxed performances” with fewer restrictions to noise and movement within the auditorium, and reductions in stimuli in the actual performance (e.g. the intensity of light, and sound would be reduced).
In Morrisburg, Ontario, the Upper Canada Village is a popular living history attraction. It goes without saying, however, that we didn’t always have a lot of the accessibility tools that we do today. Upper Canada Village’s Accessibility Weekend aims to ensure that people who are blind or partially sighted, deaf or have hearing loss, or who have limited mobility still can interact with the rich multisensory environment of the attraction.
The International Plowing Match and Rural Expo is a five-day agricultural celebration. The most prominent feature of this event is the plowing match itself – which is a competition in a farmer’s field. This traditional event has been taking place for more than 100 years, and it does present some accessibility challenges to overcome, such as soil streets and access to the field where the event takes place. The event’s accessibility committee has implemented numerous accessibility initiatives, including accessible viewing areas by constructing sturdy boardwalks around the plowing, and they make it a priority to advise attendees that a number of accommodations are available to them. How Ontario Handles Large Accessible Events
Whenever large events are being held, it’s important that adequate planning is done to ensure that it is accessible. In the last several years, Ontario has hosted several large accessible events including the 2015 Pan Am/ Parapan Games and the 2017 Invictus Games. Both events saw a large influx of visitors into the province and in preparation, several initiatives were undertaken which have become the blueprint on how to create experiences that can be fully inclusive so that everyone can share in. 
These included providing accessible transportation options which included web-based and mobile trip planning tools;Accessible parking spaces were made available at or near ticketed competition and ceremony venues;Accessible entrances and exits;Accessible amenities such as washrooms, concession stands and merchandise kiosks;Accessible seating and adjacent companion seating;Accessible medical services;Complimentary wheelchair services;Personal wheelchair storage;Service animal relief areas;Assistive listening devices and the in-venue narration of several events for spectators with visual impairments. The Invictus games also saw the unveiling of a mobile fully-accessible washroom designed for people with disabilities
The legacy of the events included the fact that the sports equipment used during the events were distributed to Indigenous Communities, ParaSport Ontario and other sporting organizations. The surplus of medical supplies and equipment was donated to Sunnybrook Veterans.
The organizing committees also encouraged business to be inclusive hosts by creating a clear path of travel to their business, offering no-step entrances, a display showing how their business meets with Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Customer Services standards and providing accessible documents and communication materials.
Having a plan that is fully inclusive was vital to the success of both events and creates an environment that all can participate in and enjoy.ReelAbilities Film Festival

The Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre is hosting the fourth annual Toronto ReelAbilities Film Festival. This festival runs from May 29 to June 2. Now in its fourth year, the festival showcases Canadian and International shorts, features, and documentaries about Deaf and disability cultures. Some of the films are created by filmmakers and actors with disabilities and/or who are Deaf. During the festival, there will be a comedy night and dance performances.
During the festival, there are several activities designed to educate youth about equity and inclusion. There will be free matinee film screenings open to school groups in venues across Toronto. Also, Accessible Media Inc., Toronto Animated Image Society, and Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre will partner to offer hands-on film making workshops for students. In addition, Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre together with Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital will offer a leadership day which will focus on advocacy to create student champions and advance inclusion within schools. The ReelEducation program, launched last year, has brought films and lesson plans about equity and inclusion into 118 schools across the province. The ReelEducation program is now going national by offering the programming to schools across Canada. Some of the films showcased at last year’s festival were picked-up by other film festivals across Ontario.   

[TPS] – High Park Cherry Blossom Festival, Saturday, May 4, 2019, to Monday, May 13, 2019, High Park Traffic Closures

Toronto Police Service
News Release

High Park Cherry Blossom Festival, Saturday, May 4, 2019, to Monday, May 13, 2019, High Park Traffic Closures

Thursday, May 2, 2019 – 8:30 AM
11 Division

From Saturday, May 4, 2019 to Monday, May 13, 2019, the annual Cherry Blossom Festival, will take place in High Park.

High Park will be closed to all non-essential vehicles 24 hours a day, starting on Saturday, May 4 at 7 a.m. The closure will remain in effect until the conclusion of the Festival, which is expected to be no later than Monday, May 13, 2019. 

Motorists can expect delays in the area and should consider alternate methods of transportation when visiting High Park.

Alternatively, there are multiple locations throughout the city with large concentrations of Cherry trees that will be in bloom. View Cherry Blossom Festival locations

The festival will take place regardless of weather conditions.

For more news, visit

Constable Jenifferjit Sidhu, Corporate Communications, for Staff Sergeant Sharon Davis, 11 Divison

There are no files attached to this release. 

How to furnish your home on the cheap! (Originally Published on The

Trust me, it’s worth the investment.

Rent a truck for a weekend, bring a strong friend along and get ready to load up on all the free stuff.

A furniture store on the many streets of your city awaits you on or close to garbage days. Why let the sanitation workers be the only ones lucky enough to get a great new dresser, coffee table, and couch?

If you know of someone who already has a truck, then the costs are cut considerably. You might just want to take him or her out for lunch or a drink to give your thanks.

The trick to finding the really good stuff in your city is to go to the rich neighbourhoods. This is what my Dad does and he already owns a van. Most of my two-bedroom basement apartment is furnished with the best for free. I have a next-to-new three-seater sofa with matching armchair. My interior decorator friend Lorraine who owns B.I.T.H. ( is going to make slipcovers for me to match the rest of the rustic wood décor.

My Dad got a double mattress with a box spring which I will use on an old futon bed frame I bought about a decade ago when I had more money. I have two bookcases, an antique desk for my computer and a café table which wasn’t free – I bought it at IKEA many, many years ago.

For the computer, I have a Pentium 4 with an LCD flat screen monitor, fab speakers and an all-in-one printer that all cost me under $500 CDN. Check out pawn shops, discount computer places, ads in the newspapers and magazines like Buy and Sell. Plus, don’t forget garage sales in “good” neighbourhoods.

I have a stereo that is 15 years old which my Mom gave me when I graduated from high school. Thank goodness I never got rid of it. It has a record player, two-cassette player, and a CD player. It’s not high-tech, but it does the trick – and the speakers on that aren’t bad. My TV is just as old and I got that from my Dad when I went away to university to do my first degree. I dropped it once, but I swear, those Sanyo TV’s are great as far as I’m concerned.

I have a funky lounge chair which I plan to keep in my office which I’ve had since I was a teenager – that’s a long time ago. It’s really my Mom’s, but she gave it to me and I plan to put it in my office (the second room) to relax and read. It even has a footstool.

If you just don’t know anyone with a van or truck and don’t have the money to rent one – try coming up with $20 to put an ad in the Saturday paper of the biggest one in your town or city. Just ask for free stuff – you may be amazed who calls and actually just wants to get rid of the stuff. Some people want to get rid of their stuff so bad, they’ll even deliver it to your place like you ordered it from the best furniture store in town. Please have some cookies or cake, or if you’re into health, an apple for these type of generous people.

With all that, you should have a hip new place in no time. And don’t forget to invite me over for the potluck.

How to Buy Food Cheap (Originally Published on The

Food, as you all know, is something that we need to survive. Whether you eat too much, too little or the right amount for your body type, here are some tips on how to cut down on your grocery expenses without starving.

If you’re on a really tight budget, food banks are a great way to get free food. Some people volunteer there to stock on groceries. This could definitely be a great way to meet some interesting people with fascinating life stories as well. One new friend of mine named Greg who I met on my way to meet an old friend Simone, told me about his experience volunteering at a food bank not too far away from where we both live. He said that the people he met there were great and he also got a lot of free food.

Speaking of free food, Greg is a cook and gets a lot of free stuff from the restaurant he works at. If you’re looking for a job and need to make ends meet, looking for something in the food industry may be a good way to earn an honest living and stock those empty shelves in your kitchen.

Also, a lot of restaurants and grocery stores throw away food at the end of the night. The Loblaws, close to where I live, have their sandwiches with healthy stuff in it like tuna, egg, cold meats and different kind of cheeses that are half price at the closing time. You can get a $4 CDN sandwich for half the price and have all your meals set for the day.

If you’re like me and you’re a breakfast person who enjoys eggs, bacon and some home fries – check out governmental cafeterias. They often have food at discount prices that don’t compare to the food you’ll find in other restaurants for the price. Remember, it is public property.

For dining out, there’s always the fail-safe “all you can eat buffet.” If you allow yourself to starve enough in the morning and go at a time when you know you won’t need to eat again for the day, you can visit one of these places (the ones in Chinatown and Indian villages are especially good). Actually, you can’t go wrong checking out the food of the world wherever you may be located.

Now for the traditional grocery shopping – flyers and coupons are your friends. Plus, if you can stand the attitude at times (with the exception of local grocers) try going to places where you can bring your own bags or they may provide boxes for you to take your stuff. I was with a girlfriend Joan of mine and we saw a man riding his bike carrying another bicycle. If that could be done, imagine the strength you could build up carrying your groceries with your bike. If you’re blessed to have a car, you need to work out if it is worth out to drive to a supermarket with great deals, or just walk to the nearest one and save on gas. Let’s hope the exercise won’t kill you.

You can also take advantage of the fact the weather is still good and enjoy an old-fashioned farmer’s market. If you avoid the ones in the ritzy neighbourhoods, you can get great deals on everything from jams to corn. Sometimes these farmer’s markets have such amazing deals that it’s worth it to take your car, or rent one, to get out of town and do some shopping in a place a bit out of the way.

One of my fondest memories growing up was my Dad taking me and my siblings out to do apple-picking outside of Toronto. They say apples keep the doctors away, so stock up. It would be hard to live on apples alone, but at many of the orchards, you can get a number of fruits dirt cheap and in large quantities.

If you’re ever really starving and there’s just nothing in the fridge and in the cupboards, there is a Chinese proverb that says “one can go without eating for many days, but needs green tea.” Mind you I received this proverb from my friend Steve and I don’t know about its scientific basis. I would advise you not to try this at home, but green tea (which you can find inexpensively in China Town) is a great way to suppress your appetite, thus keeping your food costs down.

If you have a large family, buying in bulk is always an option. Places like Costco can be a good way to support an army. If you just basically need to support yourself, good advice I got from my friend Joan was to not stock on food. You can end up finding your shelves filled with things you’ll never eat. Buy what you need and then maybe the rest of the world will have more too.

I hope that helps since $100 can go pretty fast on food. I’ve seen it happen in the blink of an eye and not really understood what the woman in front of me in the grocery line was buying. Always check the prices of the food, remember flyers and coupons can be your friends if you’re into that sort of thing and think cheap and be cheap.

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