The Smiles of Innocence Memorial Charity is an organization of caring individuals dedicated to promoting awareness and raising funds through various activities in the community. On Nov. 10, 2012, its Annual Gala attracted over 1,000 attendees at Le Parc Dining and Banquet hall in Markham, where guests enjoyed an entertainment-filled evening with performances by Sensations, Blue Soul and Brass Transit. The charity event also hosted silent and live auctions, as well as many raffles, including a $5,000 shopping spree prize at Radiant Fine Jewellers. The Smiles of Innocence Memorial Charity is an organization that supports high-priority programs at the Hospital for Sick Children. To date, it has raised over $2.5 million for the SickKids Foundation.
On Sept. 27th, 2012, the hard-working businesswomen of the Brampton Board of Trade tore up the links at Brampton Golf Club for the 12th Annual Ladies on the Links Golf Tournament. The Brampton Board of Trade thanks Dolce Media Group and other proud sponsors for their support of Brampton’s business community.
The 18th annual Gourmet Food and Wine Expo took place on Nov. 15 – 17, 2012, at the North Building of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Guests had the opportunity to sample gourmet cuisine, as well as an assortment of 1,500 wines, beers and spirits. Expo highlights included an All You Need is Cheese Stage, a Connoisseur’s Corner, a Fine Wine Tasting Lounge, a Spiritology Pavilion and tutored tastings. The forthcoming Gourmet Food & Wine Expo will take place on Nov. 14 — 17, 2013 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
Toronto, Cannes, Vaughan! The magic of the movies hit Vaughan this year when the city announced its first Vaughan Film Festival. Established by local filmmakers Antonio Ienco and Mark Pagliaroli, the VFF will celebrate local and international artists by selecting 20 to 30 short films to screen and crowning the Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Director with Golden Reel Awards.
When the women and children at Red Door Family Shelter in Toronto awoke last Christmas morning to find nearly 200 shoeboxes stuffed with thoughtful presents from local women, they were shocked. “It’s a real gift to see that the community cares about them and cares about the crises they’re going through,” says Bernnitta Hawkins, Red Door’s executive director. What stemmed from a generous gesture has become a national initiative to spread joy over the holiday season to those who need it most. “It’s not a huge thing, but I do believe in it,” says Caroline Mulroney Lapham, co-founder of The Shoebox Project.
After a conversation in mid-November 2011, Mulroney Lapham was inspired to help her sister-in-law Jessica Mulroney extend her mother’s philanthropic mission to the streets of Toronto. “Her mother would put together shoeboxes filled with small items that women really enjoyed — little splurges — and she would ask her friends to do the same and deliver them all to a local shelter in Montreal. Jessica said she wanted to bring it here and I thought it’s such a nice idea.” So they banded together with fellow sisters-in-law, Vanessa and Katy Mulroney, and sent an email out to family and friends inviting them to participate. “We were worried for a while that we wouldn’t even get 100 shoeboxes, and low and behold, we got almost 400 without any kind of marketing,” says Mulroney Lapham, who was delighted to be able to share the shoeboxes with other local shelters across the city.
This is Paris by Miroslav Sasek
In the tradition of Miroslav Sasek’s This is children’s series, This is Paris paints a playful picture of the city for little world travellers. With colourful images depicting favourite corners of Paris accompanied by charming, informative text, This is Paris will ignite a passion for travel — and for the City of Love — in young readers.
The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
Warm up your holiday season with Mitch Albom’s beloved tale of life, death and the meaning of both. Through the character of Eddie, a Second World War veteran now working at an amusement park, Albom flies readers to the heavens for an enriching glimpse of the afterlife.
Virginia Wolf by Kyo Maclear
Inspired by the friendship of author Virginia Woolf and her sister, painter Vanessa Bell, Virginia Wolf takes little readers by the hand and paints them a whimsical, magic-filled adventure that will open their minds and kindle their imaginations.
Prashant worked as a computer consultant for a leading telecommunications company with networks across Europe and most of Asia. We ran into Prashant during an afternoon stroll in a busy city park in Mumbai. He spoke English fairly well, so we were able to engage him in conversation about a typical week in his life: 12-hour days, meagre earnings and a constant flow of people around him. He explained how he had been offered a job in Europe with better pay and fewer hours, but he had declined it simply because he couldn’t give up what he had here in his country. It occurred to us as we sat in that city park — with trash piled everywhere and a fountain in the middle of a garden constantly spurting oily black water — that Prashant was a living, breathing reminder of what home really is. We realized that home is more than beautiful landscapes, city attractions and social status, and it’s not where you lay your head down to sleep. This became clear to us after a few minutes of talking to him.
We met Prashant during the course of our journey around the world, passing through 19 countries, boarding over 20 planes, travelling over 60,000 miles to engage with 300 different strangers. Throughout our experience, we had 70 meals with people we had never met before. Although food was at the core of our project, it was in no way what it was all about. The heart and soul of our search was an honest attempt to collide with the stories of people, with the belief that everyone has a tale to tell. We sought to engage with individuals from all walks of life and all types of locations on the map. Our mission was to love and serve the stranger, not because we wanted to change the world, but rather because we thought the smaller, more intentional encounters are the types of interactions that actually matter.
City Life Magazine gives you 10 good reasons not to cry on your birthday. We’ve scoured the GTA and uncovered free merchandise, food and fun for you to save hundreds of dollars on the one day you can.
1. COMPLIMENTS OF THE CHEF
For those who think there’s no such thing as a free lunch, feast your eyes on Tucker’s Marketplace’s free birthday buffet. Located in Mississauga, Burlington and Etobicoke, this culinary hot spot will make you salivate on that special day with scratch-made soup, hand-carved roast beef and crème caramel. Just show some proof and enjoy the bread pudding! Value is $18.99 on weekdays and $22.99 on weekends.
2. IN CASE YOU DIDN’T KNOW
This is the ideal deal for the good friend who offers to treat their birthday buddy. The rules are simple: simply pick up the celebratory chum, take them to the nearest Casey’s restaurant, order yourself a delicious entrée (min. $14.99) with a drink and let Casey’s cover the cost of your ID-carrying comrade.
Maximum Value is $14.99.
Local figures reveal their favourite New Year’s Eve memories.
Bachelor Canada, Citytv
‘‘I started a tradition about five years ago where I would always go back home to my parent’s place in Montreal for New Year’s Eve and cook them dinner. So every year since then I’ve spent it subsequently with my brother, my sister and the kids, and we’d just have everybody over to celebrate. The most memorable one was 2009. I made six pounds of mussels in a spicy tomato marinara sauce, Swiss chard and collard greens with diced bacon, and goat cheese smashed sweet potatoes. We also had about seven bottles of wine. Whenever I go back to Montreal I love doing the same thing, which is just trying to get my entire family under one roof because we’re just absolute crazies! This year I think Bianka and I are actually going to be in Mississauga for New Year’s. We’re going to my parent’s from December 21st to the 25th and then we’ll head to her parent’s for Christmas night probably through to New Year’s.”
Perhaps the decision between a real or fake Christmas tree was once a contentious matter for consumers. But today, it seems, the decision is becoming more and more clear-cut. Faux fir is decking our halls.
According to Statistics Canada, in 2011 the fresh-cut Christmas tree industry reaped more than $51 million in sales. Not bad, especially considering over $28 million came from exports (Canada is a net exporter of Christmas trees, StatsCan notes). In 2010, however, the industry raked in $56.6 million — that’s a 9 per cent drop. In fact, there’s been a significant slide in real Christmas tree sales over the last decade: down 22 per cent since 2006 and nearly a third since 2001.
Artificial tree sales, on the other hand, continue to climb. Last year $47 million worth of fake Christmas trees were imported to Canada — more than double 2001’s figure — with the vast majority of those coming from China. Like virtually every other holiday hallmark, Canadian souvenir or bargain-priced paraphernalia that fetches our hard-earned cash, we’re importing Christmas from across the Pacific. The North Pole has moved its head office to Beijing.