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Toronto’s Nike Run Club hosts monthly runs called “The Local”, where they have some of the cities most influential people lead an exploratory themed run through Toronto. This month’s run was built around the concept of ‘Hip Hop’, with our very own Tyrone “T-reXx” Edwards leading the run, sharing stories from over the last 5-10 years. The run had 4 scheduled stops over a 6KM route, including some hidden historic parts of our local hip hop scene.

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First stop was none other than the MUCH MUSIC studio at 299 Queen St. West, which aired the iconic television show – RAPCITY, with hosts like Michael Williams, Oliver, Master T., Namugenyi Kiwanuka, and in 2011 our very own Tyrone “T-RexXx” Edwards.

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Second stop was only a quick jog down Queen West to BARCHEF (472 Queen St. W), to meet with Owner & Mixologist Frankie. Frankie & Tyrone shared a few classic moments from the secret Jay-Z afterparty in 2009.

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The group ran up to College Street to the now famous Italian restaurant – Vivoli (665 College St.), to speak with Manager and long-time friend Mario. Over the years, Vivoli has become a second home to many of Hip Hops royalty, including the 6ix’s own Drake. If you ever get a chance, ask for a pitcher of Sangria!

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The final stop on the 6KM run through downtown Toronto was the new OVO store, located at 899 Dundas St. West. The OVO store represents so much in terms of growth, community, artistry, entrepreneurship, and of course representing Toronto.

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Big thanks to Nike for supporting local talent and allowing us to be a part of their running experience. Plus, thanks for the exclusive 1 LOVE T.O. x Nike Running Tees!

Follow @1LOVETO & @mr1LOVETO #NRC #JustDoIt

FF4

Byron Gray stands on a stage at Pine Point Park on a Saturday afternoon. The sun is shining down. On stage with him are dignitaries including MPP Laura Albanese. There is a crowd in front of him and they’re all cheering.

They’re here to celebrate the fifth anniversary of Freedom Fridayz, a platform Byron started with Kofi Frempong, Felix Cabrera and Andrew Newsome in the Jane and Finch community. We wanted to provide a platform for community members to both showcase and celebrate their skills, talents and knowledge,” explains Kofi. “There wasn’t really an art-based initiative that spoke to artists where they could come together and showcase their art. It was a place you could find established as well as amateur artists so in that sense, Freedom Fridayz filled a void.

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The group began holding monthly events at the Black Creek Community Centre where young people could display their art, whether it was visual works, poetry or musical talent. The first event drew a small crowd of 10 people. “I think it was just some random youth that had nothing to do,” laughs Byron. But word quickly spread and every month, the crowd got bigger and the acts got better.

They had to move to The Spot drop-in centre when they outgrew their initial location and now, they once again find themselves nearing capacity. “We’ve had events where we had over 500 people show up,” recalls Byron. “I don’t think we expected to grow so quickly but because of how organic this all came about, the response has been really good,” he adds.

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Freedom Fridayz is also gaining momentum outside of Jane and Finch. Their event at Pine Point Park is part of the Pan Am Path Art Relay, a city-wide relay of art installations and events that are happening along the Pan Am Path between May and August. Each week, the festival travels across Toronto to celebrate some of this the city’s greatest assets: nature, arts and active outdoor living. “We saw that they created a welcoming, inclusive, non-judgmental, and safe space where youth could come together, share and celebrate one another and we were impressed,” says Gracia Dyer Jalea, programming manager for the Pan Am Path Art Relay. “It’s effectiveness as a program has spread throughout the City and now youth groups from across Toronto, including communities outside of Jane and Finch, are looking to Freedom Fridayz as a model and often flock to their events each month. “

“We got involved with the Pan Am Path Relay because we believed that it would allow us to do what we do on a bigger scale while fitting into the spirit of the Pan Am Path… Diversity, community, arts, and togetherness,” says Kofi.

As the event draws to a close, the Freedom Fridayz team contemplates what’s next. “We really believe in empowering young people,” explains Byron. “There’s so much talent out there. We’re looking for future leaders to pass the torch to.” “They’re a success story,” adds Gracia. “There’s so much the rest of the city can learn from them.”

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Photos by Taiwo Bah

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In 2013 we introduced you to 16-year-old producer Wondagurl, who at the time had just graduated from The Remix Project and had her beat placed on Jay-Z’s latest album “Magna Carta Holy Grail”. Fast forward two years, she’s had additional beat placements with French Montana, Travis Scott, and more.

The Creator Class caught up with her for their latest episode of ‘ORIGINALS’, where they highlight the lives and ambitions of creative entrepreneurs who are following their passions. Check out the video and get to know a little more about one of the youngest producers in the game!

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Directed by Jackie Beale

Previously: The Creator Class: A Movement In The Making

Follow @1LOVETO #TCC

Artistry-WEB

Around the globe Hennessy Artistry brings together some of the most talented artists on stage for an eclectic mix of music; ranging from hip-hop to pop, rock to electronic music, which we like to call the #ArtofBlending.

We’re excited to announce the latest edition of the Hennessy Artistry Series for 2015, featuring live performances by SOULECTION (Esta, Jay Prince, Lakim, Joe Kay)!! We are also proud to announce additional live performances by Toronto’s own WILDE, music by MyManHenri and hosted by 1 LOVE T.O.’s very own T-RexXx.

Join us on Thursday May 28th at Tattoo – 567 Queen St W Doors @ 10pm.

Please RSVP to events@1loveto.com for you & your guests by 5pm on Tuesday May 26th.

*Limited Capacity
*Must be of legal drinking age to attend.

Follow @1LOVETO #HennessyArtistryTO

Last November @1LOVETO hosted our 2nd Annual Photo Walk with our contributing photographers @SoTeeOh & @ellenaturel. With over 80 participants ranging in experience from beginner to professional, we met at City Hall, walked through the Financial District, along Front Street and ended our photographic journey in the Distillery District. Along the way people were sharing helpful advice on shooting techniques, editing apps, sharing equipment and of course free cookies courtesy of @madvillain.

We’re in the planning stages for our 3rd Annual Photo Walk for the Summertime!

Follow @1LOVETO on instagram for details…

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Photos by @soteeoh & @suesthegrl

Video by Shanik (Stiir)

Previously: 1 LOVE T.O. 1st Annual Photo Walk (Evergreen Brickworks)

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Colin-Boyd-Shafer

1. Cosmopolis TO saw huge success and like Interlove, deals with the idea of connections and awareness. How did the idea of Interlove come to you?

Spending a year photographing someone from every country of the world for Cosmopolis Toronto, made me think a lot about ‘diversity’. One area of diversity that I thought needed further exploring is the diversity of relationships – specifically in regards to beliefs. Like Toronto is the perfect place to try and find someone from every country of the world, I thought Ontario would be the perfect place to tell interfaith love stories. In many places around the world, this project would be much more controversial, much harder to do, and possibly unsafe for the participants.

2. Why were these stories important ones to tell?

Many photographers have used portraiture to tell stories of interracial / interethnic love, but I like to believe that today, here in Ontario, these types of relationships are accepted. However, I don’t know any photographers who has told interfaith love stories and I also think it is still a topic that many people know little about. These stories are not overtly visual, BUT they are important. It is important to note that project not only includes people who believe in the supernatural, but also those who doubt (freethinkers, atheists, agnostics etc.). In a world full of stories of hate, often times with that hate being drawn along religious lines, I think it is essential to tell real stories of love. These couples’ love stories can teach us all something.

3. Some of the couples featured describe some sort of conflict in their life by being in an “interlove” relationship. What do you think propelled those conflicts and why do they (the conflicts) exist even today?

To be honest I think if you ask any couple anywhere about their relationship they will have faced many challenges. That is life. There is no consistent experience across all of the couples I have met. Clearly some of them have families that make things difficult, but also many of them have families that make things easy. Many of them explain how surprised they were by how their families accepted their partner. Ultimately belief is an important part of one’s existence, but if both partners are willing to communicate with respect and find compromise then things seem to work.

Here is a quote from Jameel (Muslim) and Lauren (Jewish)’s story:

“Considering the divisive state of mainstream social politics between Jews and Muslims, some are surprised that we do not embody those same political divisions and that our relationship has not faced any unique challenges that other married couples do not also encounter.”

4. What surprised you the most after interviewing interlove participants? What did you learn?

I am learning a lot about healthy relationships. All of the couples I have met are exemplary. It is rare to find stories of lasting love anywhere and to be able to explore these is a special experience. This project is about interfaith couples, but really I am just telling awesome love stories. One love story that definitely inspired me was Najwa and Samir who met almost half a century ago in Lebanon. http://interloveproject.com/post/109984101221/najwa-samir-newmarket-on-najwa-describes-her. They had to risk so much to be together, and today their love is as strong as ever.

5. Why do you think participants reached out to be a part of this project?

For many of the couples’ this is an opportunity to tell their story with confidence – the way they want it to be told. Many of these couples have faced obstacles, and in a way this is an opportunity to be proud of their love and also share some advice with anyone who may be charting a similar path. I have received messages from many people who are following the project from outside of Canada emphasizing how these stories give them hope. That is a great feeling.

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6. What do you say to people who say they do not approve of “interlove” because it destroys the traditions/cultures which they’d like to preserve?

I think if anything it strengthens traditions and culture. When someone is in a relationship with someone of a different belief, they themselves actually have to think deeply about what they believe and why they do the rituals they do. This requires a lot of introspection, and ultimately it leads to increased confidence in one’s culture. There is no reason why the children of an interfaith family can’t explore both beliefs. Susan Katz Miller’s book, Being Both, is a great read for anyone interested in this topic. I have also seen many of the couples create their own beautiful hybrid traditions within their new interfaith family.

Here is a great quote from Annie (Catholic) and Sunder (Hindu): Our children learn and celebrate both religions and will have freedom to choose one of our religions, none or another religion of their choice.”

7. After talking to so many couples, what would you say are the keys to a successful relationship?

I guess I would call it the 4 Cs :) Communication, Compromise, Compassion and Common Values. Ultimately relationships are a lot of work, but totally worth it – and these couples demonstrate that well. It has become clear to me that regardless of belief, it is the values the couple shares that matter.

One of the partners mentioned to me how he thought in the beginning of breaking up with his partner because she was not of his religion. However the more he thought about it he came to recognize that he had way more in common with her than he does with anyone at his church.

8. The idea of interlove suggests two different worlds coming together in love. How do you think it is possible for interlove relationships seem to make it work despite their differences in major aspects of their lives?

Once again I must emphasize common values. Here is a great quote from Sahar who is Muslim and is marrying Alvaro who is a Catholic: “I never thought of being in a relationship with someone who was not Muslim. The more I got to know Alvaro, I realized we grew up similarly, thought the same way and had the same expectations for the future. That is when I started to think of the possibility of marrying someone who was not Muslim. I think the ‘AHA’ moment was his relationship with my sister and cousin sister. He was so good, kind and generous with them.”

9. What do you think it is going to take to make interlove relationships lose its negative perceptions and stigmas?

First of all I think that is happening naturally. In a diverse society like Toronto, people are exposed to other beliefs and this exposure leads to understanding. A project like this demonstrates how powerful of a force love can be, and how differing beliefs in the face of communication, compassion, compromise and common values can’t top love.

I am still looking for more couples to photograph for the project: interloveproject.com/apply

Posted by Samira Zia Rehman

Follow @1LOVETO #InterloveProject

Trainspotting

Recently I (@brock1loveto) was invited to contribute to Spotify Canada’s “Music For Your World” campaign, featuring a collection of custom, curated playlists representing distinct Canadian neighbourhoods – based on the actual music listened to by people who live there. I chose to contribute to a playlist entitled “Trainspotting” specifically for Dundas Station. The playlist is meant for early mornings and late nights and all the moments in between while you’re waiting for your train.

The first 5 songs of the playlist are my selects:
1. Sohn – The Wheel
2. James Vincent McMorrow – Red Dust
3. How To Dress Well – Ready For The World
4. Sam Smith – Nirvana (Harry Fraud Remix)
5. Chilly Gonzales – White Keys

Early mornings and late nights are an ideal time to just think, reflect, and zone-out, while still being aware of your surroundings. Each one of the songs I’ve selected for the “Trainspotting” playlist has the ability to evoke emotion, bringing you back to a certain point in your life (good or bad) or maybe even fast forward to the unknown. I think it’s important to take a few minutes out of everyday to just appreciate the little things you take for granted. While you wait on the platform for your train, slow things down, pay attention to the details, and let your mind wander. Enjoy!

LISTEN TO THE TRAINSPOTTING PLAYLIST HERE

For more info, visit: spotify.com

Follow @1LOVETO #Music4YrWorld

The Interlove Project

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We are so excited to be working with The City of Toronto and photographer Colin Boyd Shafer of Cosmopolis TO for his new exhibit, “Interlove”, which explores people of different faiths who have come together, in love.

Mixing with the wrong colour, caste or faith has been a major issue for centuries—some of us know about this struggle first hand or likely know someone who does. But attitudes are changing according to Colin who says he believes there is a natural progression especially in culturally diverse cities like Toronto.

It’s that idea of “diversity” which got Colin thinking and spawned the Interlove project. He says, “For many of the couples, this is an opportunity to tell their story with confidence – the way they want it to be told. Many of these couples have faced obstacles, and in a way this is an opportunity to be proud of their love and also share some advice with anyone who may be charting a similar path.”

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People often try to mask their prejudices by saying they merely want to preserve their culture/traditions and therefore cannot accept romantic unions which involve two different beliefs. “If anything, it strengthens traditions and culture. When someone is in a relationship with someone of a different belief, they themselves actually have to think deeply about what they believe and why they do the rituals they do. This requires a lot of introspection, and ultimately it leads to increased confidence in ones culture.” He recalls a quote from one of the couples he met:

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Annie (Catholic) and Sunder (Hindu): “Our children learn and celebrate both religions and will have freedom to choose one of our religions, none or another religion of their choice.”

All couples face their own unique challenges and none of them work without mutual hard work. So what does Colin believe are the keys to a lasting love? “I guess I would call it the 4 Cs :) Communication, Compromise, Compassion and Common Values. Ultimately relationships are a lot of work, but totally worth it – and these couples demonstrate that well. It has become clear to me that regardless of belief, it is the values the couple shares that matter.

This project is such a welcomed breath of fresh air. “In a world full of stories of hate, often times with that hate being drawn along religious lines, I think it is essential to tell real stories of love. These couples’ love stories can teach us all something.”

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Want to participate? He’s looking for more couples to shoot; visit: interloveproject.com

If you’re interested in attending the private Opening Reception at the Mackenzie House on May 13th 6-8pm, please RSVP by calling Mackenzie House at 416-392-6915 or e-mail machouse@toronto.ca. The exhibition runs until August 12 and Mackenzie House is open Tuesdays to Sundays from 12 to 5pm.

Posted by Samira Zia Rehman

Follow @1LOVETO #InterloveProject

Since the inception of 1LOVETO we’ve had the opportunity to work with and for the communities that make Toronto so unique. Over the last 8 years we’ve worked closely with local charities that specialize in working with ‘at-risk’ youth. Through our community-based initiatives we’ve seen the success of what empowering a generation of young people can do. Virgin Mobile has also recognized the importance of helping our younger generations grow, learn, and become self-sustaining, which is why we’re excited to join them in helping at-risk and homeless youth who are LockedOut of job opportunities to get #UnLockedOut through supporting Virgin Mobile RE*Generation .

Virgin Mobile Canada conducted a national survey, and the stats are impactful. Would you believe that almost half (47%) of Canadian youth have an income of less than $30,000/year, and 32% of youth make less than $20,000/year? It gets much worse. One in three Canadians know someone who has been homeless at some point in their life. Think about the rest of the young people who don’t even have a job.

We know first-hand, while working with local charitable organizations like The Remix Project and Eva’s Phoenix, many young people are homeless and without a job. In fact, 35,000 youth across Canada have lived in emergency shelters with up to 6,000 sleeping on the streets on any given night.

This is where Virgin Mobile RE*Generation can make a difference. They invest in charitable programs to help at-risk and homeless youth develop the skills needed to get jobs. .As big as Virgin Mobile is, they still need OUR help! They’ve given us a platform through Virgin Mobile RE*Generation to take action and do something to get involved to do some good. We owe it to our youth to extend a helping hand, especially if it’s going to get them off the streets and allow them to become an active member of society.

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Here’s how you can take action:

Text ‘REGEN’ to 30333, texts will donate $5 to Virgin Mobile RE*Generation.

You can also join the conversation online about getting homeless youth who are locked out of jobs #UnLockedOut by using the hashtag!

For more information on Virgin Mobile RE*Generation and how you can make a difference, please click here to LEARN MORE!

Follow @1LOVETO & @VirginMobileCan #UnLockedOut

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Mixing a finance company with cool, unique art and design installations, and a musical rap performance all in one evening is typically unheard of, and to some – absolutely absurd. However, Canadian finance company Mogo, held their first-ever Toronto “Mogo Perks” event in the city’s Queen West district at the NSC Gallery on Thursday, April 30th. Celebrating the spirit of collaboration through local talent across creative disciplines, the invite-only event was produced by creative collective Kastor & Pollux.

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“We partnered with creative influencers, and one of our favourites is Kastor & Pollux,” said James Owen, VP of Communications at Mogo Finance Technology Inc. “We asked them to throw a party for us as part of our Mogo Perks event for our members. From then, they reached out to other young creative participants.”

Mogo’s “Mogo Perks” initiative is to give back to their customers. Once they become a member, they have immediate access to free perks including: cool giveaways, treat of the month awards, invites to exclusive Mogo events, and opportunities at having free credit scores. With that being said, every week they give away cool prizes from great brands like: Warby Parker, Beats, Aritzia, and many more. In addition, as a Mogo member, they’re also entitled to free products and invites to exclusive events every month.

“It’s not about living a lavish lifestyle, it’s about living within your own means,” James said.

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Headlined by accessories brand No Fun Press, the party also featured a musical performance by rapper Drew Howard, plus an installation by Toronto artist Trevor Wheatley. The eclectic event was a success as it welcomed 200 of Toronto’s most notable creatives and influencers, including guests from editorial partner The Creator Class whose focus is on creatives sharing their passions in music, style, adventure, arts and culture with a global audience of aspiring peers.

“Up until this year, Kastor & Pollux has been primarily focused on creating fashion culture in digital spaces”, says Danielle Roche, founder of Kastor & Pollux. “Our continued alliance with Mogo is a great opportunity for us to create culture through collaboration with artists outside of the fashion community. Producing the first Toronto ‘Mogo Perks’ event allowed us to apply our knowledge of the digital world to a tactile space. We’re really happy with the turn out.”

In a creative culture filled with young individuals whose lifestyle tastes tend to far exceed their cost for living, Mogo has figured out a way for them to uncredit card their life by doing more and spending less. With no monthly fees, the Mogo Prepaid Visa Card encourages them to control their spending and avoid the aftershock of credit card debt.

“Mogo is not about spending, Mogo is about being responsible with your spending. The campaign we’re pushing is, ‘uncreditcard your life’ – instead of spending lots of money, it’s about using Mogo to pay off your high interest credit cards and loans,” explained James. “The benefits of the credit card is you can use it online, use it for your travel, use it however way you wish. It has all the benefits of a credit card but you’re using your own funds by topping off your card at your convenience whether it be every week, every month, and therefore, it’s your money you’re spending— no body else’s! There’s no credit, it’s all about your own spending.”

Mogo is a Canadian finance company that supports the new breed of young people who grew up in an Internet world; the tech-savvy generation that tends to get carried away with their money. With that being said, the MogoCard gives them the convenience of a credit card and the control of a debit card with no monthly usage fee.

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“This concept came about because Canada has a real debt problem; individuals in Canada have an average of $27,000 of unsecure debt. It came about because we feel the need to help the problem that Canada is facing right now,” says James. “It’s about recognizing if you have a financial issue, come to Mogo; get rid of your debt, uncredit card your life, and have a do more, spend less lifestyle.”

Through Mogo’s products, services, contests, and events, the evening’s party was one of the financial company’s “Mogo Perks” rewards for its members and featured prize giveaways including: limited-edition Kastor & Pollux x No Fun Press pins, cash prizes up to $500, and pizza and booze on the house all night.

As the night progressed, the crowd mix and mingled; laughter and music filled the space; dance moves and Pabst Blue Ribbon paired well; metallic balloons shaped in money signs floated above the crowd; and photographs alongside sculptured installations with the words: Eat Shit, Anti-You, and Ice Cold, were a huge hit!

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“We want to tap into any age group that wants to uncredit their life. This particular party is about this particular demographic. Mogo is about having cool times with various crowds,” James said with a chuckle as he watched the crowd bob their heads and throw their hands up during rapper, Drew Howard’s performance.

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Posted by Christina Cheng

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