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The “L” Word is a series of posts where we feature songs and videos with the word “LOVE” in the title. For most of us, music plays a major role in our lives, especially when it comes to the topic of LOVE. From break-ups to make-ups and everything in between… music has been there along the way. We hope that you’ll be able to relate to some, if not all, of the songs we post.

In this edition of The “L” Word, we’ve selected a Vimeo Staff Pick by Route 94 – “My Love” ft. Jess Glynne. The video was shot entirely with a FLIR thermal camera and was directed by Ryan Staake. Enjoy!

Previously: The “L” Word: Game Of Love

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10 Tips To Shoot Street Photography by SoTeeOh

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01. Have fun – This is usually the bonus rule that people throw in last to add one more thing to the list. For me its my first rule. Don’t stress out trying to take perfect pictures, just have fun. Take pictures of other people having fun. Everyone loves having fun, so taking pictures that are fun is a great way to start out.

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02. Time to reflect – One of my favourite techniques is to look for interesting reflections. Puddles, store windows, metal hand rails and car mirrors can all make for some really cool shots. just get close to the reflective surface so you get a strong reflection and then look for a creative angle.

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03. Colour your world – Interesting or vibrant colour combinations can really transform an image. In a city like Toronto its not hard to find locations with lots of great colours. Fruit markets, gardens and street festivals can provide plenty of colourful subjects. This shot was taken at the EX last year. The sky, the midway signs and even the people add lots of different colours to this photo.

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04. Get to the point – All parallel lines converge in the distance. When you take a picture of parallel lines converging, it draws the viewers eyes into the middle of the photo bringing all the attention to a central point. This technique is called leading lines. Great places to practice this are alleys (like this one at Honest Ed’s), train tracks, and roads (just be safe!).

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05. Add context – The little details in your surroundings can really set off a photo by adding a story to it or creating a context for your image. Paying attention to these small details can really add to your photos. Here I happened to catch a beautiful sunset at Jane and Eglinton but I already take so many sunset pictures so I was worried that it would get kind of boring. But by shooting the sunset through this bus shelter window the image is now stamped with an exact location that adds extra meaning to this sunset.

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06. Golden hour – Golden hour is the hour after sunrise and before sunset. Its my favourite time to shoot. Because the sun is still low in the sky it casts long shadows and the soft warm light makes everything look cozy. Grab your camera and go for a walk in golden hour and you will instantly see how much difference the right kind of light can make in your photos.

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07. Seize the moment – You know that feeling when you’re looking at something and then you think to yourself “Oh this would make a great picture”? Well chances are you’re right so take the picture! Any camera will do the trick. Whether is a pro DSLR, a point and shoot, or your phone, its just about capturing that moment and any camera is the right camera.

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08. Fall in Toronto is amazing – Need I say more? From the first signs of changing leaves you have about 4 or 5 weeks to enjoy amazing colours and animated skies. It only comes once a year though so make sure you grab your camera and enjoy it.

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09. Look up! – Another key to good photos is perspective. Try to look at things from unusual perspectives. This photo was taken at Bay St. and Front St. looking straight up from the base of the building. You will be surprised how much more interesting something can seem if you just look at it from a slightly different angle. Look straight up, climb up high and look down, kneel, crouch, squat. Do something different when you’re taking a photo and you will be rewarded with an interesting picture.

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10. Patience is a virtue – Once you settle on a scene to take a picture of, you can often make that picture even better by waiting a little while until something else comes into the frame to make things just a little bit more interesting. Here I was getting ready to take a picture of the skyline when I noticed a plane flying towards city so I lined up my image and then waited until the plane was directly over the CN Tower before pressing the shutter. I probably only had to wait an extra 30 seconds but it made all the difference.

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PharrellsHat

What’s Pharrell’s Hat Really Worth?

For the past few weeks post Grammy buzz hasn’t centered on winning acceptance speeches, slighted losers, or even theatrical performances. The topic of conversation has been centered on a hat. To be precise, a Canadian Mountie style hat donned by Pharrell. The high crowned hat, with its unusual indentations, placed him in the spotlight. When he took the stage the mixed responses from the live audience and at-home viewers wearing the said chapeau set the social media world ablaze long after the show’s closing credits. And just when you thought that the hat buzz was dying down Pharrell announced that he was auctioning off his show-stopping hat. E-Bay bids recently reached $44,100 (from Arby’s) and folks are starting to wonder… What’s Pharrell’s Hat Really Worth?

In order to place a value on Pharrell’s hat, or any other statement-making hat for that matter, you have to understand that hats are far more than an accessory. They are historically steeped in our survival, culture, identity, and self-expression.

We’ve worn head coverings for centuries. Magnificent Egyptian headdresses, designed for Pharaohs, symbolized regional control, religious rituals, and victory in battle. First Nation Peoples wore warm pelts to fend off nature’s icy brew of wind and snow. In the roaring nineteen-twenties flappers rebelliously cut their hair and donned the cloche. Aviator hats became popular in the early twentieth century with the rise of open-cock-pit airplanes. And breakdancers proudly wore bucket hats while performing the uprock and headspin.

Just as human beings have evolved over time so too have various hat styles, their gender specifications, and their use. The beloved fedora, over a century old, is an excellent example of this. Recognizable by its tall crown, pinched front (on both sides) and creased centre dent, was first worn by women and made popular by actor Sara Bernhardt in the late 1880s – starring as Princess Fedora in Victorien Sardou’s (French) play Fedora. It wasn’t until the turn of the century that the said chapeau became a popular men’s accessory.

Long before Pharrell, hats have sparked heated social debate and been subject to social convention. Hat wearing declined due to the strict social etiquette surrounding the accessory during the 1950s and early the 1960s. At that time they were more or less mandatory and so a generation wanting nothing to do with their parents’ conventions and values, opted out of wearing the accessory. In the late 1960s they became popularized again by artists like Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Bob Dylan. Their songs of liberation, larger-than-life personas and rebellious messages re-catapulted the hat back to its place of significance.

Regardless of the historical moment or particular context, hats have always been a cultural artifact of sorts bound up in social capital, expression, and meaning. Just as we figuratively “switch” hats in various areas of their lives, hats allow us to express different parts of our personality. When sunning at the beach a wider brim may be preferred, a weekend brunch in the city may call for a gatsby cap, and a fedora can complete business meeting attire or paired with a pair of jeans and a t-shirt for a concert. With the proceeds of Pharrell’s statement-making hat going towards his youth charity, I know that hat is worth every single penny.

Guest Blog Post by Dameion Royes, original founder of Toronto’s BIG IT UP and BRIMZ, which includes their in-house label and also supports TO’s local designers.

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Ivanunkown – “Fickle”

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Ivanunknown may have to change his name after his latest release “Fickle”, which has put a spotlight on this Toronto-based artist. If you’re into music like JMSN, Jai Paul, or The Weeknd, there’s a good chance you’re going to like what you hear on “Fickle”. You don’t have to take our word for it, listen for yourself…

Now available on iTunes!

Previously: Introducing Ivan Unknown

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Black History Month

Black-History-Month

Every February, Canada and the US recognize Black History Month; honouring and celebrating the efforts of the Black race from the past and present. We talked to a few of the brightest of Toronto’s Black community about, race, humanity and everything in between.

RISE

“I’ve met countless ambitious youth that have taken the right steps towards achieving their dreams. There are thousands of young African-Caribbean youth in Toronto that are taking the initiative to fulfill academic, artistic and entrepreneurship endeavors. The issue is the media rarely highlights the positives happening within our community. The government spends millions of dollars on criminal activity, but can barely spend a fraction of it to aid the roots of these criminal activities. It’s a shame to know so many promising youth in our communities that have zero to minimum recognition for their achievements. But I do feel there is a wave happening. There is a wave of conscious-loving individuals who have experienced enough downfalls to know that the only way out, is up.” – Randell Adjei

Follow @RisePoetry

Maestro

“Hip Hop has reinforced knowledge of self to the black community. However, we have been mentally conditioned not to have knowledge of self. The roots of Hip Hop are Peace, Love, Unity, as well as having fun; that will always remain. Yet currently, we as blacks in Hip Hop have given the world permission to disrespect us because we disrespect ourselves every minute of the day.” – Maestro Fresh Wes

Website: wesmaestrowilliams.com

EJade

“The portrayal of black women in the media and on screen as either a vixen, a mother figure or a finger snapping ‘independent woman’ needs to end. From my teen years until now there are countless times when people who I have interacted with at events or work that have expressed their surprise at me not being an accepted definition of being ‘black’. They are surprised that I don’t listen to rap or hip-hop by choice, that I articulate my thoughts without ‘attitude’ and I find men of many different cultures attractive. These roles reinforce stereotypes that are ignorantly imposed on me without conscious choice by otherwise extremely intelligent people and that is what I want changed.” – Elaisha Green

Follow @ElaishaJade

Rudy

“I think we embrace other cultures much better than we did 30, 20 and 10 years ago but there is still at times an underline of prejudice. As younger generations grow up in this city they are more accepting to other cultures and actually want to take part. Cultural festivals definitely help with that. But then at times there’s the ol’ skool race mentality. Mayor Rob Ford is a good example of that when he says he doesn’t want to take part in Pride celebrations or caught on video pretending to speak as if he’s Jamaican and not see that that is a problem.” – Rudy Blair

Follow @Rudy680News

yusra

“Hatred diseases us all to believe that there is a hierarchical value system in defining peoples humanity. Visionary love dismantles any dynamic defined through exploitation and violence. Peace gives us balance and stability to foster equality in our lives. Critical consciousness forces us to think and question our entirety who we are constantly. There is no room for hatred with this.” – Yusra Khogali

Website: yusrakhogali.com

DavidD

“Systemically, “Institutional Racism” as coined by the homie Stokely Carmichael exists in many forms. If it didn’t, they wouldn’t be such a major need for equity rights. Women are making less money compared to the male counterparts and black women are making less money compared to the female counterparts. Young black males are being victimized and profits are being made off the murder of folks like Trayvon Martin. Racism exists. But we have the capacity to empower ourselves to free our minds from it. It’s a proactive act.” – David Delisca

Website: delisca.com

Posted by Community Contributor Samira Zia Rehman

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Amex Ambassadors: 2013 Re-cap

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As Amex Ambassadors we get the chance to enjoy the incredible perks of being an Amex Cardmember and share those experiences with you! Over the past 3 years we’ve had the opportunity to attend exclusive VIP events, live concerts, traveled the world with Amex UNSTAGED, and enjoyed fine dining at its best (just to name a few).

Check out some of our highlights from 2013!

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EXPERIENCE 1: City & Colour Road Trip #AmexEffect

In June of 2013, with the help of Amex’s Platinum Concierge Service, we booked a driver for our road trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake to see City & Colour perform live. Not only did we arrive in style, but our VIP tickets allowed us quick entry and access to an exclusive area within the park, complete with food, drinks, private washrooms and most importantly NO LINE-UPS! That’s what we like to call the #AmexEffect.

Take a look at more concert photos HERE!

Downtown Toronto is known around the world as being a unique shopping destination, with local shops from Kensington Market to Queen Street West always offering you something special.

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As young entrepreneurs we understand how important it is to support small businesses within our communities, so we took part in Amex’s SHOP SMALL program. We got the chance to visit 5 of our favourite shops in Toronto and showcase them on our blog. Our favourite shop (which has recently closed and is now moving to a new location) is Magic Pony, the only store of its kind in Toronto, offering designer toys, cool housewares, poster art and some hard to find books and magazines.

Check out the other 4 shops we profiled HERE!

Amex-Platinum-Lounge

Last but not least, one of our favourite things to do is TRAVEL. Having the Amex Platinum card allows us to travel like rock stars! Skipping security lines at Pearson, exclusive Lounge access with complimentary food, drinks and rest areas, 24/7 personal Concierge providing premium service and travel advice… it doesn’t get much better than this!

We hope that you’ll join us on our journey for 2014…

For more info: facebook.com/AmericanExpressCanada

Make sure you follow @1LOVETO & @AmexCanada for updates and special offers throughout the year. #AmexAmbassador

ROOTS XL COLLECTION | POP UP SHOP

As part of their 40th anniversary, ROOTS Canada has created a special Canadian-made ROOTS XL Collection with the help of our good friend and Canadian designer – Adrian Aitcheson. We got the chance to sit down with Adrian at the ROOTS head office here in Toronto to discuss the XL Collection.

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ROOTS is hosting a special Pop Up Shop this Thursday, Feb. 27th and runs until Sunday, March 2nd at 567 Queen St. West. The ROOTS XL Collection will also be available at the Venice Beach, CA flagship store, as well as the ROOT’s fifth store in the US, and online.

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“Doodle 4 Google” By Cindy Tang

Doodle4Google_CindyTang

If you log on to google’s homepage today, you’ll see the work of 17-year-old Toronto student Cindy Tang! Her beautifully coloured image entitled “Sea Telescope”, has won first prize in the “Doodle 4 Google” Canada contest. She won a $10,000 scholarship, a laptop, plus a $10,000 grant for her school, Dr. Norman Bethune Collegiate Institute in Scarborough.

If you you’d like to see her original drawing along with 70 other contest finalists, make your way down to the ROM to see the special exhibit.

CLICK HERE FOR EXHIBIT INFO

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Send Boi-1da’s #TeamTO to SXSW

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Toronto’s Beat Academy and hit-maker Boi-1da have hand selected 8 talented local producers to represent Toronto (#TeamTO) at this years SXSW MUSIC FESTIVAL’S first ever International ‘Team Beat Battle’ in Austin, Texas. Multi-Platinum Grammy Award-Winning Producer Boi-1da (Drake, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Eminem and more) is the official Coach with an impressive line up of up-and-coming producers including: 17 year old Wondagurl (from Jay Z’s latest album), Rich Kidd, Chef Byers (produced OB’s “Steve Nash”), Nick Nikon, Superville, 2oolman, DZL, and C-Sharp.

#TeamTO needs our help! They’ve launched their kickstarter campaign in the hopes of raising funds for the trip. Donations will help pay for flight, accommodations, food, travel and documentation. There’s only 3 days left to donate. Let’s continue to put Toronto on the map!!!

PLEASE DONATE HERE

For more info: thebeatacademy.com

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