Slow Down and Smell the Culture: Taste of Little Italy

May 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Featured Events, Past Events, Uncategorized

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Every year thousand of Torontonian descend upon College St. W.,  between Bathurst St. and Shaw Ave., to enjoy the sight, smells and flavours of Little Italy.

 

This year from June 16th – 18th anyone who joins the celebration has a chance to win a round trip for two to where it all originated, Italy!

 

Come hungry , with over 50 amazing restaurants along the strip guests are sure to taste exquisite, authentic Italian and international fare. Relax on one of the many extended patios with a fragrant glass of vino, or mosey around and discover more than 20 international performers throughout the weekend.

 

Admission is free for all, as they say, “la mia casa e la tua casa.”

 

For festival line ups and vendors please visit:  http://tasteoflittleitaly.ca/

 

The Ups and Downs of The Richard L. Hearn Generating Station

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Gritty and raw, iron and steel beams, industrial, passageways and tunnels, brick and concrete. Toronto History. If any of this makes sense to you, then you know we are about to talk about the Richard L. Hearn Generating Station, one of Toronto’s largest and most rarely used spaces.

Toronto’s massive wealth of space in the Portlands has seen its years of ups and downs since it opened in 1951. Originally, the Richard L. Hearn Generating Station burned coal which was shipped out on the Saint Lawrence Seaway to ports around the globe.

Environmental complaints in the early 70’s about the heavy smog that was emitted from the Stations eight chimney stacks lead to the installation of a single smokestack, which cost nine million dollars but it also landed the Station in the record books at the time with having one of the world’s tallest smokestacks (215 m/705 ft.). This move greatly reduced Toronto’s air pollution and the area around the plant came to be known as a popular fishing and recreation spot.

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The Smokestack at the Generating Station which was once the tallest in the world at 215 m. Photo courtesy of P. McDines.

The Station was decommissioned in 1983 after it was unable to meet the increasing financial demand that cogeneration ( natural gas and coal) would cost.

Since it was decommissioned there were many talks and many different plans to restart the generators and switchboards, with none coming to fruition mostly because of city and provincial politics

In 2002, Ontario Power Generation (OPG) gave a long lease to a film studio ( 32.5 years, according to the City of Toronto’s Waterfront Secretariat) who had ambition plans to convert the Station into a 28 thousand sq.m. multi purpose film and production studio and call it ‘Great Lakes Studios’. Many of the interior boilers and equipment was removed to make room for the renovations, which sadly also did not make it to completion.  

Since then, the Station has been a haven for urban explorers and photographers. It began getting serious about opening up its doors as a venue for events and film in 2010 when it was used in a movie, and in 2014 for Luminato’s Big Bang Bash and Yves Saint Laurent Opening Night Party. In 2015 Luminator hosted UNSOUND on the property and again in 2016 Luminator used the grounds as their festival hug, utilizing most of the space for art and performance.

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The original brick exterior painted with “Don’t Look Back” at the loading entrance for Luminato ’15. Photo courtesy of P. McDines

 

 

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One of the tunnels inside of the Station lit with artist installations during Luminato ’15. Photo courtesy of P. McDines.

 

Recently there have been a few commercial shoots, but that’s about it. So far, Luminato Festival seems to be the only lucky infrequent resident of the Station. Stats show that the 5.6-acre venue has proved to hold 10,000 people.

 

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A look inside the Station at the still exposed wiring and steal.

Written By: Paula McDines

A Timeless Beauty – Omni King Edward Crystal Ballroom

April 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Event Venues, Ontario, Past Events, Toronto

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The Omni King Edward Hotel welcomed more than 100 guests to enjoy delicious foods and fantastic entertainment while leading up to the main event of unveiling the timeless beauty that is the Crystal Ballroom, fully restored and as pristine and elegant as ever.  The Omni team is excited about the new space and is already booked for a number of weddings over the next few months.

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Our Deb Lewis from CityEvents was lucky enough to see the ballroom a few times over the last decade at Doors Open Toronto. The first time over a decade ago, when the room was full of cobwebs and was only used by a local fly fishing club. After that the ballroom was deemed unsafe so it was years later after the renovation started she was able to see the ballroom starting to take shape.  “It is such an exciting time to see the King Eddy ballroom rebirth for another century of key events.”

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Named after their adorned crystal chandeliers, the Crystal Ballroom also kept its old-world charm meets modern luxury with ornate moldings, 8-metre high coffered ceilings and floor to ceiling windows with panoramic views of the city. These features are what makes the Crystal Ballroom the most popular venue for hosting grand society affairs, royal galas, debutante balls, weddings and conventions.

In fact, since opening in 1922, the venue, located on the hotel’s 17th floor has hosted some of Toronto’s most prestigious and extravagant events from the 1920s to the 1970s including:

  • August 8, 1927 - The Prince of Wales (later, the uncrowned King Edward VIII, the Duke of Windsor) and British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin were entertained with a lavish state dinner.
  • 1939 – Senator Frank O’Connor founder of Laura Secord Candy in Canada, received a remarkable testimonial dinner, which had a crowd overflow the hall and the head table was filled with the chief representatives of the king, the government and the city including Mayor Ralph C. Day
  • April 12, 1955 - Polio Vaccine proved effective and safe for 80% to 90% of children across Canada and the US. Nearly 700 doctors, technicians and nurses crowded the Crystal Ballroom to watch the news report on two dozen TV Sets, installed specifically for the occasion.

And it seems that the hotel has some very strong intentions to keep doing so, especially with the new restoration that has brought new life and shine to the ballroom.

For more info about the Crystal Ballroom re-opening, click here: Omni King Edward Hotel 

Recap: 13th Annual Canadian Helen Keller Centre Award Luncheon

April 7, 2017 by  
Filed under Ontario, Past Events, Toronto

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“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”

On April 5th, 2017 The Canadian Helen Keller Centre (CHKC) held their 13th annual Award Luncheon at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel. The luncheon is held each year to help raise money and awareness to support the services the CHKC provides free of charge to its clients.

This year, The Honourable Dr. Helena Jaczek, Minister of Community and Social Services and MPP for Oak Ridges-Markham, received the prestigious award for her continuous support and dedication to bettering the lives of those in the deafblind community. Since becoming the Minister of Community and Social Services, her work to assist deafblind Ontarians has been groundbreaking. Most recently, she will focus on the development of new frameworks that will result in a consistent, fair and accountable approach to funding.

The luncheon’s keynote speaker was Gail Asper O.C., O.M., LL.D., President of The Asper Foundation, Governor of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and sitting board member of The Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CHRM) in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Ms. Asper’s speech reminded everyone in attendance of the importance of inclusivity and charity. As a special thank you Vim Kochhar, founder of Canadian Foundation for Physically Disabled Persons and chair of CHKC, presented Gail with a cheque for $15,000 to go towards the CHRM to continue to be the most accessible museum in Canada.

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Hon. Dr. Helena Jaczek (left) with Gail Asper O.C., O.M., LL.D. (right) with the Fairmont Royal York Hotel for the 13th Annual Awards Luncheon

 

Thanks to Steve Blackburn, you can check out photos from the afternoon on his website steveblackburn.com

Learn more about the Canadian Helen Keller Centre www.chkc.org

Information on past awards and the host organization, Canadian Foundation for Physically Disabled Persons www.cfpdp.com

 

Written by: Paula McDines

 

Your Favourite Independent Event Planner – Deb Lewis

April 7, 2017 by  
Filed under CitySocial, Past Events, Toronto

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On Tuesday, March 28th, Deb Lewis, CEO of CityEvents, took home the Canadian Special Events 2017 Readers Choice Award for Favourite Independent Event Planner.  With the category filled with seven other very talented planners that spread across the country, Deb was honoured with the recognition.

“It was amazing just to be nominated, and I’m completely blown away by all the support I received over the weeks leading up to the ceremony,” says Deb after her win from The Aga Khan Museum where the awards and kick off to CSE LIVE.

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Deb Lewis hold up her Readers Choice Award for Favourite Independent Event Planner at the Canadian Special Events opening night and awards ceremony.

Besides being a highly effective Certified Meeting Planner, Deb is also passionate about educational and mentoring opportunities within the community. Each season she takes on interns from local colleges, universities and high schools as well as diverse international students. Deb keeps a strong connection with her Alma Mater, George Brown College and sits on the organizing committee of “5 to Watch”, a groundbreaking annual event for the Canadian sports marketing industry that set the standards for identifying the next generation of industry captains.

Adding to her community involvement, this blog, CityEvents was created to share and support colleagues events, promote local venues and highlight industry businesses.

Her voraciousness and drive have allowed her to achieve the skilled organization of managing multiple events. On TorontoCityEvents.ca, Deb offers everything from sponsorship management to creating buzz and an online presence for their clients. CityEvents covers every aspect needed to run a successful event or campaign.

On deblewis.ca you’ll find out about venue specs, supplier information upcoming events, and event tips. On YouTube,  you can find her educational series of videos all about the tips and tricks of marketing an event online through different platforms.

Deb has been in the industry and planning events for 20 years. She’s experienced in everything from corporate and government events to charitable and not-for-profit galas and awards.

 

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