Friday, September 18, 2015

ANDRE & VERI

First-time visitors to the city, but no strangers to world travel, Andre and Veri visit Toronto's City Hall from their home down in Argentina.

Both women work for ExxonMobil where they met. A friendship developed and they have both found they are great travel friends. Between them they have visited many places including the United States, France, Italy and Spain.

"The weather here is very beautiful, we are so lucky with the warmth," Veri says of the unseasonably warm temperatures Toronto has been enjoying this late in September.

TRAVELING FUN FACT: Once while traveling in Amsterdam, Andre had no luck in finding a hotel for the night. "Everything was full, no room anywhere. Someone told me to check Couchsurfing," explains Andre of her dubious thoughts of the popular online service offering up a spare couch for the night. "I found a guy who had a couch so I stayed there. It is a good service and does not cost anything, and he was a very nice man".

PHOTO: SPENCER WYNN

Thursday, September 17, 2015

HANS & CHAE

At mid day, in the shadow of the 1853 St. James Cathedral and the pealing of the church bells in downtown Toronto, Hans and Chae enjoy a quiet lunch hour away from their computers.

Hans, from Busan, South Korea, known for its temples, beaches and mountains came to Toronto in 2004 by himself for school and work. He is an animator working not far from where they sit behind the church. His work has appeared in television series, films and commercials. A graduate of the Vancouver Film School, Hans has worked animation assignments in China, Turkey and Korea as well as at home in Toronto.

Seoul, capital of South Korea is Chae's hometown until 2013 when she landed in Canada without knowing any English. After one year at school, she was proficient and today her spoken English is flawless. Graduating from Centennial College in animation, she works with Hans at Arc Productions where she is involved in producing 3D character animation. "Its a secret! Next year you can check on TV and see it," she says smiling when asked about her current project. 

HANS' PROUD MOMENT: "I had an ordinary life," Hans says in his understated way when asked to think of something in his life that stands out. "I worked hard to get my portfolio. I worked in restaurants and everything. But the day I finished my portfolio, I got an animation job in Turkey. I am proud of that".

CHAE's MOST PROUD MOMENT: "Actually it just happened recently," she explains of the day she received two exciting pieces of news. "On this one day, I got this job and I also head from my school coordinator that I was getting and academic award for excellence! I had the highest GPA in my class"! "I felt amazing, I told my parents right away in Korea".


PHOTO: SPENCER WYNN





Wednesday, September 16, 2015

JASON

Before most people are awake, Jason and his companion walk the boardwalk along Toronto's east end beach.

Originally from Montreal, Jason is a programme director at the Riverdale Community Health Centre, ( www.srchc.ca ). Jason helps to support the development of programmes and services for a large downtown community in Toronto. From family support to newcomers and everywhere between, Jason is involved in developing health promotion and services in the community.

To balance his daily life, Jason is a runner, and early riser with his dog and spends time with his 12 year old daughter and a large extended family.

JASON FUN FACT: His other career path earlier in his life would have mountaineering and guiding. "But, as I was pursuing that, I needed to pay the rent! I got a job working at a shelter in east Vancouver that turned my career path in a completely different direction".

PHOTO: SPENCER WYNN

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

JOSH

At under 5,000 square feet and atop the roof of Josh Broun's new restaurant, Impact Kitchen, one would never suspect this Toronto restaurant on King East to have over 60,000 employees!

This Toronto restaurant owner is opening the concept restaurant which focuses on healthy, locally grown foods where connections with farmers and producers is key. Walk into the eclectically and elegantly designed space, which will open later this month, and you will see the produce used in your meals, the fruits and vegetables that go into their fresh juices at the juice bar and a vast kitchen where field-to-plate is celebrated in show-all transparency.

After a baseball scholarship to the United States ended with an arm injury, Josh began his career as a Western University educated Health Science major. His path took him to working one-on-one with clients as their personal trainer. In addition to the physical training, Josh was teaching nutrition and lifestyle as part of a healthy lifestyle regimen. Josh was often be available for his clients as they travelled to the United States on business. It was on these trips that he began to see and take note of restaurants with the concept on which his own is modelled.

Together with a training client and now business partner, Frank, co-founder of MAC Cosmetics, Josh is realizing all the years of connections, training and education with Impact Kitchen. As their clearly stated food philosophy states, "Minimally Processed, Nutrient Rich, Real Food" is what they serve and what you can have in-house or in prepared meals to take home.

With New York trained Culinary Nutritionist, Stephanie Tucci keeping watch over the ingredients, preparation and nutrition, healthy food, locally grown is served to all regardless of your diet. Whether you are vegan or omnivore, the food is fresh, healthy, balanced and harvested close to home – that includes their 60,000 honey bees occupying three hives on the roof! The honey will be used daily in baking and as an ingredient in other meals and drinks.

Watch for their opening later this month at 573 King Street East in Toronto, just west of the Don Valley ( www.impactkitchen.ca ). As you enter the restaurant, pause and look up, you just may see some of those bees returning from all the flowers available a block away up the Don Valley ravine system.

JOSH FUN FACT: "I've run with the bulls in Pamplona, that's a good story," he says recounting his participation in the yearly race of mayhem through the twisting, cobbled streets in Spain. Following in his father's footsteps, Josh was one of the fortunate to survive the run, "You are running and you look behind you at six bulls, I couldn't stop, a lot of people get messed up, then you end up in a huge stadium with 20,000 people looking down at you. It's intense, an amazing experience".

PHOTO: SPENCER WYNN








Monday, September 14, 2015

RANDY

"It is not that life ashore is distasteful to me. But life at sea is better."
— Sir Francis Drake

These are words by which Randy Potts, Captain of the Peerless II chooses to live.

Born in Bracebridge, Ontario, Randy has spent his adult life working on and around ships and the water so of the Muskoka region of Ontario. He was the last deckhand hired on the RMS Segwun (Gravenhurst). He worked the Segwun for a total of 18 seasons with only a three-year break when he piloted a ship on Lake Winnipeg. For five years, he was also the only Muskoka-born captain of the Segwun.

During his time as captain of the Segwun, he purchased a well-storied small fuel ship which used to deliver fuel to the cottagers of "Millionaire Row". In the day, the president of the BA oil company wanted his own fuel sold on the lakes, not that of competitor, Imperial Oil, so the the Peerless was put into service. It is said the captain of the fuel ship also delivered baking and other treats to the cottagers young and old!

Together, Randy and his wife, Debbie put their heart, soul and savings into restoring the historic fuel delivery tanker into the picturesque tour boat that it is today – complete with the BA logo still displayed on the hull.

MOST ASKED QUESTION ON BOARD: "Why do people come to Muskoka"? A frequently asked question by passengers cruising on the Peerless. ""Once it is in your blood, it's like malaria, you can't get rid of it," says Randy of the love and life he feels and lives in this beautiful part of Ontario.

The Peerless sails out of Port Carling, Ontario and runs as long as the weather is favourable. You can contact them for a daytime or sunset cruise at www.sunsetcruises.ca


PHOTO: SPENCER WYNN


Sunday, September 13, 2015

HELENA

The town of Huntsville, Ontario is in good hands with Helena Renwick at the wheel, especially on this perfect day of the 13th annual antique and classic car show on the main street. 

Born in Calgary, Alberta, Helena lived in the western Canadian city until the family moved to Sarnia, Ontario when she was seven. Her Dutch parents moved the family east because her father, an employee for Imperial Oil was transferred to Ontario to continue work with Imperial Oil.

A move to Toronto for school brought out and developed her many creative sides. She attended York University, Ryerson University and the University of Toronto where she graduated with a Fine Arts degree in visual arts. After meeting her husband at university, she moved up to Huntsville in 1996 where she began their family and has thrived.

Currently the Executive Director of Huntsville BIA (Business Improvement Areas) she is also very active in the Huntsville Arts Society and the Huntsville Festival of the Arts. When she has a bit of down-time, she paints portraits. With her three children older now, she now has the time to continue her creative interests and has had a few small shows as well as picking up photography.

HELENA FUN FACT: "I have a great photo of me leaving the plane with a big smile on my face," she says recalling her sky diving experience. "It's one of the most magical things I have ever done. Once you're out of that plane it's very relaxing and exhilarating – I'd do it again"!

PHOTO: SPENCER WYNN