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Love Denim Drive

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The 2nd annual Over the Rainbow “Love Denim Drive” returns from February 1 – 16th, encouraging customers to share the Valentine’s Day love by donating a pair (or two!) of previously worn jeans in-store to receive a 20% off discount on their purchase.

All pre-loved denim will be donated to the United Way to support their efforts of strengthening our city and supporting people in need who are living in poverty, whether it be individuals, families or entire communities.

BONUS: When in-store, customers who tweet or post a photo tagging @Rainbowjeans416 #LoveDrive will receive an additional 5% off their purchase!

For more info: rainbowjeans.com

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UforChange: Meet Helen & Valen

Toronto’s youth need guidance, resources, access and empowerment, all of which UforChange provides. UforChange is an arts-based educational program for young people living in Regent Park, St. James Town, and across the GTA. They recently posted a video where you get to meet Helen and Valen, two alumni from the program. Take a minute to hear their stories, and be sure to share this with anyone who you may think can benefit from the program.

For more info: uforchange.org

Previously: UforChange Arts Showcase

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“Teenagers” Web Series

This Sunday, January 19th marks the official launch of “Teenagers”, a new web-series based out of Toronto. The show follows a group of teenagers in their last year of high school as they confront teen angst, sexuality, and racism. The cast includes Degrassi alum Chloe Rose and features music from Toronto artists such as Shi Wisdom & Lincoln Blache. We’ll have to wait and see if this is a Degrassi style spin-off, but in the meantime, check out the trailer.

WATCH EPISODES HERE

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For more info: teenagerswebseries.ca

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Toronto Cavalcade Of Lights 2013

Better late than never… Here’s a video from the 47th annual Toronto Cavalcade of Lights, presented by Great Gulf, which happened on Saturday, November 30, 2013 at Nathan Phillips Square. We never get tired of watching fireworks!

For more info: toronto.ca

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The Frocktail Party

A party for a cause is the best kind of party and last week, we enjoyed a night of fashion, food and music at The Fifth Annual Frocktail Party in benefit of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

The Frocktail auction stole the show consisting of clothes, accessories and luxurious experiences donated by the city’s most stylish including, Rachel Sin, Greta Constantine, LINE, Drake 150 and more. Pre-loved pieces were also donated by heavy-hitters like, Rachel McAdams, Nelly Furtado and Cheryl Hickey.

Frocktail came to fruition in 2009 thanks to the vision and determination of Jessica Oliver, Ali Reid and Jen Foster. They were inspired to raise awareness and funds for juvenile diabetes for Jessica’s sister, Vanessa, who was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at only age six.

“I have seen her struggle with thousands of finger pokes and insulin injections, blood sugar highs and lows and the fears of potential complications that could arise” says Jessica, “She is brave and dedicated herself to helping find a cure. This is my way of supporting her in reaching that goal.”

They had no idea what a success and impact Frocktail would have on their cause and were inspired to only get bigger and better. “The first year we had no idea to expect. We hoped to get 100 people out and raise a few thousand dollars. That first year, more than 600 people attended and we raised $23,000. The high we got from creating something from nothing and exceeding our wildest expectations was amazing.”

This year’s Frocktail raised the most money to date, bringing in $70,000, taking their five year total to over $200,000.

For more info: thefrocktailparty.com

Posted by Samira Zia Rehman

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Cosmopolis Toronto

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To see the city through the lens of a photographer can have you looking at the place you call home, in a way you’ve never envisioned before. What those photos would say, how they would make you feel, what questions it would evoke, make up the magic of photography.

Award-winning Photographer, Colin Boyd Shafer, is currently embarking on a photographic depiction of Toronto’s most famous asset: its people. He calls the project, “Cosmopolis Toronto”; a collection of portraits of Torontonians born in another country, but who now call Toronto home, at a place in the city they bond to, taking a second photo of them holding an object which connects them to their past and telling their story.

Colin, who is also a teacher, intends to examine migration and capture the unmatched variety of Toronto, saying, “I think we say ‘diversity’ quite often but rarely (maybe never) are there ‘real stories’ about the individuals involved. I guess the aim of the project is to visualize/capture the diversity of this great city and create an accurate picture of Toronto 2013.”

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He also distinguishes “diversity within diversity” explaining that, “many people do not fit into the mould of what an average person of their ‘culture’, ‘religion’ or ‘country of birth’ is like.” He goes on to give examples such as, “my participant born in UAE is of Pakistani-background, my Syrian participant is training to be a Franciscan priest and my Canada-born participant is a black gentleman from Nova Scotia who is a fifth generation Canadian.”

“My grandparents migrated here and contributed as educators and artists. The participants I have met have their own incredible stories and are all adding to make Toronto an incredibly rich city. As I see Canada closing its doors (making migration nearly impossible for some people) I want us to not forget that most of us, are ourselves, the product of migration. Migration has made this city great.”

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Cosmopolis Toronto will be showcased in two exhibitions early next year at the Toronto Centre for the Arts and CONTACT Photography Festival.

For more info: cosmopolistoronto.com

Posted by Samira Zia Rehman

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SleepOut

At this moment, there are over 10,000 homeless youth in Toronto. Of those, half come from middle to upper class homes and have been the victim of physical, emotional or sexual abuse. And unless you experience it for yourself, it’s hard to understand just how ruthless street life is.

Over 74 of Toronto’s top business and community leaders, participated in Sleep Out: Executive Edition, a fundraiser put on by Covenant House Toronto. For what was to be an eye-opening night, they said goodbye to their cozy quilts and plush pillows for cold concrete and a shady alleyway. With just a sleeping bag and a cardboard box, they slept outside to raise funds and awareness about homeless youth in the city. Some of the participants included: Jeanne Beker – Fashion Icon, Annie Young-Scrivner – Starbucks President, Robert Deluce – Porter Airlines President & CEO, Bill Blair – Toronto Chief of Police, MLSE President & CEO – Tim Leiweke

“But it was the loneliness I focused on as I snuggled up in my sleeping bag out there on the cold, hard pavement of that dismal back alley. And as I lulled myself to sleep, I tried to imagine the isolation and despair that so many kids face.” – Jeanne Beker, Toronto Star.

The Toronto chapter of Covenant House was established in 1982 when the late, Cardinal Carter, raised concerns and gained support over the homeless kids who were sleeping outside his downtown office. Today, it is the largest homeless youth agency in Canada and since its inception, has helped over 85, 500 homeless youths through donations which also fund 80% of their operating budget. They provide education, counselling, health care, employment assistance and most important, love, respect and hope.

It seems the number one thing the participants took away from the experience was perspective and even bonds with the homeless kids they came to know. What they gave back, $762,976 in total for Covenant House Toronto.

For more info: covenanthousetoronto.ca

Posted by Samira Zia Rehman

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The Remix Project: Apply Now!!!

The Remix Project is now accepting applications for the following youth programs:

The Academy of Recording Arts (singers, rappers, poets, producers, engineers, and djs)
The Academy of Creative Arts (graphic/web designers, painters/illustrators, video/film and photography)
The Academy of Business Arts (entrepreneurs, public relations/events, sports, fashion, and music)

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MISSION STATEMENT
The Remix Project was created in order to help level the playing field for young people from disadvantaged, marginalized and under served communities. Our programs and services serve youth who are trying to enter into the creative industries or further their formal education; The REMIX Project provides top-notch alternative, creative, educational programs, facilitators and facilities. Our mission is to help refine the raw talents of young people from across the GTA in order to help them find success as participants define it and on their own terms.

APPLY NOW

For more info: theremixproject.ca

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Canada Braai Day In Toronto

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The pulsating vibe in The Distillery was a palpable pleasure to all who attended the inaugural Canada Braai Day, hosted by CBC’s Dwight Drummond and Anne-Marie Mediwake.

“Braai” is the Afrikkan term for “barbeque” and is a popular pastime in South Africa because of the way it brings people together and keeps the culture thriving. It’s even been given its own holiday in South Africa known as “National Heritage Day” championed by Patron and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Desmond Tutu. In between the live performances and free giveaways, we devoured tons of delicious food and sipped on some of South Africa’s wine.

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Braai is a customary gathering which has transcended throughout to other counties in the world. It is a time for friends and families of all races and religions to get together and enjoy each others’ company.

The South African community is very connected to the city and has created a timeless bond. Toronto stood by them in protest over the massacre of miners in South Africa who were fighting for better wages aiming to break free of poverty; the Toronto’s Children’s Choir was on tour in South Africa this summer and stopped by Nelson Mandela’s hospital to sing a song of blessings for the ailing revolutionary.

That kind of awareness and closeness of community is exactly what Braai encapsulated. We felt so fortunate to be a part of the party but more importantly, recognized and reaffirmed the notion of being proud of your roots and conscious of your culture.

Posted by Samira Zia Rehman

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The TEDxToronto 2013 conference happened last week with a collection of incredible speakers who had the opportunity to discuss “the choices we make”. If you didn’t get a chance to attend, take a minute to watch this brief Toronto history lesson and visit tedxtoronto.com for more info.

Congratulations on another successful year!

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Welcome To Rawluck

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Gavin Sheppard most notably known as co-founder and CEO of the internationally award winning arts & cultural incubator, The Remix Project has brought to life a new vision for Toronto. As visionary, strategist, writer and executive producer, Gavin has assembled a young creative team which is proud to present RAWLUCK, a multi-media series. The idea is set in Toronto circa 2022, RAWLUCK draws equal inspiration from the great fables of Robin Hood and the very real stories of Mexico’s Zapatista Movement – Rawluck is at it’s core, a series about how citizens and loved ones navigate and rebel against a new world of state-sponsored oppression. Rawluck is also a cautionary glimpse into the not-so-distant future, exploring themes of community, immigration, justice and health care issues in a polarized Toronto.

Told across mediums, episodes of RAWLUCK come in the form of video, stop motion video, still photography and finally illustration. Welcome to the beautiful struggle.

Today marks the official release of the first 4 episodes – the series picks up again with a new episode the 15th of every month beginning October 15th.

Welcome to the struggle.

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WATCH EPISODES HERE

For more info: welcometorawluck.com

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