Saturday, July 25, 2015

CHETTY & JILL

Tucked between vastly different booths at the Gravenhurst, Ontario Ribfest event, Tim Chetty and Jill, are offering teeny tiny samples of hot sauce to those who dare!

Tim grew up in Keswick, Ontario and now lives not too far away in Barrie where the commercial kitchen of Chetty's is located. He is an entrepreneur who currently works for the town of Richmond Hill in their archives department... for the time being – he leaves his job to work full-time for Chetty's in a week. At 25 years of age, he says he is still young and wants to see Chetty's become a hot item in everyone's kitchen. Stressing, "It's not just about the heat, we emphasize that it's more about the flavour more than anything," he says of the six products they currently offer: original hot sauce, lime, garlic, pineapple, bbq hot sauce & marinade, and their jerk seasoning & rub.

Jill, a nursing student from Port Sydney, Ontario works for Chetty's and is helping keep up with the demand of the sauce, teaching people about the sauces when they stop by for a sample. Jill is heading to York University in the fall to complete her bachelor of science four-year nursing programme.

TIM FUN FACT: When he was 14 years of age, he worked at an electronics store and saw an opportunity to make some extra money. He noticed the older kids at school who smoked and were always loosing their lighters. Tim bought lighter leaches, the retractible string that clipped onto a belt loop at one end, and the lighter on the other. The lighters would never be lost as they were attached to the pants. He resold the lighter leashes to the kids at school and made over $500 in profit! An entrepreneur was born!

JILL FUN FACT: Always with a smile, "I'm a ginger with a soul," she says laughing and explaining, "People think red haired people don't have souls." True enough if you have ever watched an episode of Top Gear on the BBC!

PHOTO: SPENCER WYNN

Thursday, July 23, 2015

SYLVIA

Since her birth in Winnipeg, Manitoba, 74 years ago, the energetic Sylvia Gethons-Green has been on the road. Her dad moved around a lot while she was growing up, and as a nurse she has worked in many locations around Ontario over the past 40+ years. Asked if she is retired, "I haven't! In fact there's a job coming up soon, but I'm just doing odd jobs now," she says with a smile of someone who is restless and cannot imagine settling down!

In a parking lot of a Canadian Tire store, space has been set aside for a small group of eclectic classic car collectors and their vehicles. The 1957 Larkspur blue Chevrolet 210 is one of Sylvia's treasures. Her other vintage vehicle is a Ford 1934 ton and a half truck with wood side rails which used to belong to her father.

Sylvia fell in love with this car and bought it in the late 1970s, it still has its original paint work. When she was 16 years old, this model was cruising the roads in style. At $2,174, one could have bought this for less than the price of a laptop today! And unlike a laptop, the 6-cylinder Blue Flame engine still runs decades later. For those who geek out at numbers, there were 260,401 of these classics that rolled off the line at General Motors.

SYLVIA FUN FACT: With a beautiful classic smile herself, Sylvia is proud to say she's headed down to the Elvis festival in Collingwood – again this year. "We don't even reserve now. They just save us a spot! They know the car," Sylvia says of their frequent appearances at the Elvis festival. She is headed there this weekend.


PHOTO: SPENCER WYNN



Wednesday, July 22, 2015

JASON & WINSTON

Only having met each other in the last hour, the two athletes from Guyana head off to explore Toronto. Jason Yaw, a running coach and Winston, a runner are two of thousands of athletes at this year's Pan Am Games in Toronto.

From the small northern country of Guyana in South America with a population less than half of Toronto, Jason is a quiet, soft-spoken man who is enjoying his visit to Toronto. At the Pan Am Games, Jason coaches the 400 metre race. He will soon be heading to the Panamerican Junior Championships held in Edmonton and will be competing.

With an ever present smile and quick to laugh, Winston George from Bartica, Guyana is a 100 metre runner. He just finished the preliminaries but was not able to move forward. He is now free to enjoy the city, "That's why I'm walking around out here checking out the city," he says laughing. He will return to Florida on Monday where he lives and trains.

PHOTO: SPENCER WYNN

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

AMANDA

In her small studio in a west end Toronto neighbourhood, Amanda Maccagnan carefully slides out a sheet of blood red glass. It brings a smile to her lips as she describes the sheet in almost human terms. It is rare sheet of discontinued European glass which seems to have an organic life of its own – slightly pebbled on one side, striated on the other and swirling with layers of pigment.

A Toronto native, Amanda's creativity has followed her throughout her life. A highly skilled stained glass artist, she now creates under her own name unlike the three years spent working and designing for another artist.

An intricate, full-size sketch, rendered on tracing paper hangs on her wall, the next stained glass commission for a west coast musician. The work, in the shape of an electric guitar leaves open areas for the instrument's pick-ups, dials and other access points. A blend of artistic expressions.

Amanda's work has won accolades and recognition. Transitioning to her own studio was a difficult process. To focus her resolve, she began to create a large glass piece that took all her concentration, time and energy, "It almost killed me," she says of the prize-winning work. The work is seen in the image of her at her studio window.

AMANDA FUN FACT: Haunted by a lifetime of traumatic nightmares, Amanda discovered smoking pot made the dreams disappear, giving her relief from the images plaguing her nights. If she stopped smoking, the images and dreams would flow back and haunt her nightly. Another way of coping with the dreams was to paint them "By embracing something and making something beautiful out of it, your brain changes – you no longer see it as something to fear," she says about coping with her recurring demons.

You can see Amanda's work, and contact her on her website: http://amandapocalypse.com/


PHOTO: SPENCER WYNN

The piece Amanda created as she transitioned to her 

own studio. This piece is still available for purchase.

Monday, July 20, 2015

CEDRIK

Though by North American standards, he lives just down the road, this is Montreal native, Cedrik Levesque's first visit to Toronto. With a guide book in one hand, he is only here a few days to attend meetings.

Having just landed in the city, Cedrik is looking forward to getting his bearings, get through his meetings and take in some beach volleyball, part of the 2015 Pan Am Games. A transmission line designer, Cedrick is a civil engineer born in the northern Quebec town of Val-d'Or and grew up in Montreal.

With his DSLR camera in the other hand, Cedrik enjoys photography in his spare time as well as cycling and other sports to keep in shape and enjoy the outdoors.

CEDRICK FUN FACT: "I've been to India 12 times," Cedrik says, laughing, "and this is my first time to Toronto." Though he has been to India many times on business, he still struggles with eating Indian food! "I like a lot of foods, but not Indian foods," he says laughing at the irony. "India is all about your senses."

PHOTO: SPENCER WYNN

Sunday, July 19, 2015

RAVI

A job, a career and a calling that few will experience. Ravi Verdi stands in the shade of an historic building at the Distillery District keeping watch over hundreds of people as they enjoy the day's activities nearby. 

The athlete's village of the Pan Am Games is only metres away and a police presence is welcomed and reassuring to those who live in the area. Ravi's quick smile and friendly personality are appreciated by passers by and other colleagues from neighbouring detachments.

Born in Toronto, Ravi, like many others in the police services began their careers in completely unrelated fields. Ravi went to school studying biology before he moved into the area of policing. From Toronto's 53 Division, Ravi has been a police officer for 10 years. "The variety of things you can do and run into on a given day," Ravi says of the reasons he enjoys what he does. 

In his off time, Ravi enjoys sports and spending time with family. Asked about a fun fact, as in other posts, he is stumped and searches for something. Its a hard thing to think of when one is not expecting the question. 

RAVI FUN FACT: "I'm 36  years old but I feel like I'm 16, how's that?" he says searching for something to say. With that he waves goodbye and reaches for a chilled bottle of water to cool down on this very hot day. 

PHOTO: SPENCER WYNN