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EAST vs West T.O.

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We found ourselves in a room with a panel of some notable Torontonians debating a question that has caused clashes, confrontations and general chaos: East end or West end, what’s better? They called it, “An intelligent discussion on a not so important topic.”

Representing the West End: Roz Weston of the Roz & Mocha Show on Kiss 92.5FM and Co-Founder of Toronto music label Arts & Crafts, Jeffery Remedios.

Representing the East End: City Breakfast Television Host, Jennifer Valentyne and Editor/Publisher of NOW Magazine, Michael Hollett.

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Vogue Magazine recently declared Queen West one of the coolest neighbourhoods in the world. It’s got Bellwoods Trinity Park, the Entertainment District and cool hotels like The Drake. Does cooler mean better though? East end boasted about their green space, a family orientated community and the ease of getting into downtown anytime they want. They claim the cuisine is amazing and it’s far easier to make a reservation and enjoy your surroundings. There is less congestion there and has a very chill vibe. East end is home to Leslieville and The Beaches but West end has The Annex, Parkdale and The Junction.

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Things got a little heated when an audience member challenged Roz on the very existence of Scarborough. The man in the audience claimed Scarborough doesn’t really exist saying, ‘it’s Toronto’. Roz, obviously annoyed, came back with, “Scarborough does exists. Tell somebody FROM Scarborough that Scarborough doesn’t exists; Scarborough exists!” The man says, “I AM from Scarborough!” Remedios chimed in with, “Oh no, you’re from Toronto.” The audience was in stitches! LOL!

The general conclusion of the night? The best end depends on who you are and what you like. You’ll find something that fits you because here, it’s all good in the hood.

Photos by Katherine Holland

Posted by Samira Zia Rehman

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ArtReach Youth Pitch Contest

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“The pitch contest challenged me on so many levels. I’ve had the opportunity to pitch for funding before, but I’ve never done a creative pitch with other people. Through the experience I learned how to be a better leader and how to deliver an entertaining pitch in front of a panel of judges. I was also able to meet new friends and establish connections that I didn’t have before. It was hands down one of the most exciting experiences of my life.” – Anthony Gebrehiwot, XVXY Photo

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That’s just a glimpse into the gravity of the Youth Pitch Contest created by ArtReach and City of Toronto Arts & Culture. It created a platform for young artists and entrepreneurs to pitch ideas surrounding their craft to a panel of respected judges including our very own, Bryan Brock, in hopes of winning up to $5,000!

“The arts are a powerful and motivating way that youth are involved in their communities. Whether it’s in someone’s basement, or through a community program – young people are creating art all over this city.” – ArtReach

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The eight finalists included: Black Like We, JellyTooFly, Pomegranate Tree Group, Wild Moon Jewelry, Pique Toronto, Alien Nation, XVXY Photo and Corex. Winners included, Anthony Gebrehiwot of XVXY Photo, Fiona Raye Clarke of Black Like We, Dwayne Holness of Corex and Asia Clarke of Wild Moon Jewelry.

Asia hoped the prize money would help her with funding to attend a Jewelry Arts Academy for Goldsmithing in Trinidad and Tobago as well as to hire an assistant to help with existing demand, two key pieces she felt she was missing. In her pitch, used a combination of audio/visual projection and live models. The four key element of her speech were, “Future, Heritage, Create, Magic”.

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“Preparing for the pitch contest was a challenge because I really wanted to win but was made nervous by my amazing competitors – I was already aware of and inspired by their work” says Asia, “I have connected with some of the other finalists and even made plans to collaborate on future work which is dope! I’m looking forward to that.”

It’s always a thrill to witness the scope of creativity in Toronto. The Youth Pitch Contest is another reminder that one proactive step towards your goals, is a giant leap towards your dreams.

For more info: artreach.org

Photos by Miguel Arenillas. Additional photos by Ebti Nabag & Idil Jailani.

Posted by Samira Zia Rehman

Previously: Youth Arts Pitch Contest

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NYC/Toronto-Based Community 54 just released there “Local Hooligans” Holiday 2014 capsule collection with American-based “Sports Heritage” brand Ebbets Field. The collaboration brings to life a satin coaches style jacket with athletic lettering and numbers embracing the “Local Hooligans” branding. If you haven’t made the trip to Parkdale yet, make sure you stop by Community 54 located at 1275 Queen Street West. Tell ‘em that we sent you!

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For more info check out community54.com

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Chinedesign Presents Supafrik Toronto

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Supafrik is a traveling pop-up concept that was created by Chinedu Ukabam, the creative director of Toronto fashion label Chinedesign. Part exhibit and part retail, Supafrik showcases the work of artists, designers, photographers and entrepreneurs that are inspired by Africa or working within the burgeoning “Afropolitan” movement. Curated around the theme of “Contemporary Africana”, Supafrik features artwork and other creations that re-contextualise and re-imagine traditional African aesthetics and tradition within a modern framework.

SUPAFRIK returns to its Toronto roots after well received installations in Washington DC, London and Paris. The pop up shop takes place on Sunday September, 21st from 1-7pm at the TAC Art/Work Gallery located at 568 Richmond St W.

The pop up shop will feature a collaborative one-off capsule collection from Chinedesign and Parisian conceptual artist MyriaMMaxo. Chinedesign’s #TheBravingRitual collection, the label’s first foray into eclectic winterwear combining tartans and indigo-dyed mud cloth will also be exclusively available for made-to-measure custom orders.

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For more info: chinedesign.com

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For those of you unaware, Art Battle is a thing. Beyond that, it is a really unique, engaging and entertaining thing. We were fortunate enough to attend the Art Battle National Championships on Saturday at the old Maple Leaf Gardens. Since 2011, regional winners have advanced to the National Championship held every year in Toronto. When many of us hear or read the term “battle” we immediately envision two emcee’s on a stage or in a circle verbally assaulting one another with an onslaught of rhymes until one is deemed the winner. Art battle is nothing like this and everything like this at the same time.

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Taking many cues from battle rap, Art Battle is still a distinctive entity unto itself. Many of the artists involved in the competition are fine artists who are technically trained, which shows in their compositions. Each artist has only 20 minutes to complete their piece. With time being every artist’s stodgiest nemesis, the cream of the crop will rise to the top. Wander from easel to easel observing each painter for half a minute at a time (there are 10 artists painting in each round) and upon returning to the easel from which you started the same composition you witnessed moments ago will have transformed into something entirely different. This is what makes Art Battle a worthwhile viewing experience. It offers immediate satisfaction in art, art being a realm wherein we are accustomed to compositions requiring inordinate amounts of time to materialize. In a culture where people want to see instant results, Art Battle offers just that.

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Congratulations go out to this years National Champ, Yared Nigussu. Yared has won the last 3 National Championships so as you can imagine he is pretty good with a brush. We are looking forward to watching him defend his crown in 2015! Learn more about Yared Nigussu HERE.

Photos by @marshallcole

Posted by Jesse Ingalls

Previously: Sneak Peek: Art Battle Canada

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On October 27th 2014, Torontonians will be heading to the polls to cast their vote for the next Mayor of Toronto. You’ve probably heard about front runners like Olivia Chow and John Tory but did you know there are about 35 other candidates? Meet Mayoral candidate Richard Underhill.

Name: Richard Underhill

Age: 53

Occupation: Musician (sax player)

How do you hope to change Toronto?
I hope to help Toronto unlock the vast potential of it’s citizens and to harness the creativity of the residents of this great city. I hope to change transit in this city so it resembles the modern cities of Europe and increasingly America. That means complete streets that include space for pedestrians of all abilities, dedicated bike lanes, transit corridors as well as space for cars.

I hope to create a sustainable city where housing is affordable and available in close proximity to jobs and schools, where transit is affordable and efficient and where the waterfront is for recreation, not jets. Most of all, I hope to create a city where decisions are based on consultation with residents and experts, not cronyism and lobbying.

Why did you decide to run?
I decided to run for mayor because I was fed up with the current mayor of Toronto. I was tired of him making a mockery of the office and most of all I was horrified by his slash and burn policies. He has cost this city money while destroying perfectly good plans like transit city and the Scarborough LRT. I was motivated to deputize during budget meetings at city hall and from there was energized to run for office. I hope I can bring good ideas and positive discussion to this campaign.

From years of observation and participation in the political process at the grassroots level, attending community meetings, deputizing at City Hall, participating in campaigns and discussing issues with candidates, I have learned much about how the city functions and how to effect change.

What should the public know about you?
What makes me unique in this mayoral race is that I have had the opportunity to travel the world as a musician. I have toured over 30 countries and have seen first-hand how other cities are modernizing far more quickly than Toronto and reaping the social and economic benefits from better transit, increased green space, complete streets and human scale development. Have any of the other candidates in the race traveled from New York to New Delhi, Amsterdam to Auckland, Helsinki to Havana, Berlin to Budapest or Goa to Guadalajara?

As a musician I also bring to the job the ability to improvise and to come up with outside-the-box solutions. The goal of a musician is to compromise, to cooperate and reach a common goal. My campaign is non-partisan and not wedded to the doctrine of any political party. I owe no favours for past support. For those tired of politics as usual, I provide a chance to break the mold and start fresh, to begin again with someone who is willing to listen, who is compassionate and believes in fairness, who has an open mind and who will not shoot the messenger and shun a good idea from an opponent.

Posted by Samira Zia Rehman

Follow @1LOVETO #TOpoli

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Name: Saeed Selvam

Current Occupation: Candidate for City Council.

Last Occupation: Campaign Manager for the Your32 Transportation Campaign with CivicAction

How do you hope to change Toronto?
If you’ve ever been downtown during rush-hour and tried to get onto a streetcar/subway or even waited for a bus in -30c weather you know that we could definitely do transit better. I’m pushing for a Downtown Relief Line that’s desperately needed to keep our city moving. Among the many other issues some of the top include affordable housing, youth unemployment and promoting our Toronto brand to the world. With thousands of young people graduating from college and university each year, it’s almost impossible to find a meaningful job.

We also have a massive housing challenge on our hands, it’s getting extremely expensive to live anywhere close to downtown Toronto, but this also includes increases in rent all over the city and with that increase, guess what, there’s often no value improvements to offset it. Similar to increasing TTC fares, people are tired of seeing costs increase without any visible improvements.

Why did you decide to run for council?
I first got involved with the Toronto Youth Cabinet while I was in high school because I was tired of waking up to headlines like “another shooting, another death” during the ‘Summer of the Gun.’ After years of local advocacy, I learned quickly that while you can make a lot of change from the bottom up, there needs to be some support from the top down. I also learned that politics in Toronto did not reflect communities and our diversity in the way it should. When I say diversity however I refer to a diversity of ideas, a lack of willingness to work together and a lack of bold ideas. We suffer from a leadership deficit, dirty politics and an unwillingness to take risks that could make our city even greater.

I decided to run to represent those who didn’t feel they had a voice in politics, who felt it was inaccessible and didn’t apply to them. The issues I’ve mentioned are just a sample of what I felt I could offer in terms of solutions, however the bigger piece was about changing our political culture, not just in Toronto but in Canada.

What should the public know about you?
I like short walks on the beach, I don’t have a barber and I tweet daily to stay in shape.

To learn more visit: saeedselvam.ca

Posted by Samira Zia Rehman

Follow @1LOVETO #TOpoli

10 Reason Why You Should Vote!

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VOTE OR DIE — not literally, of course, but you’re not really living if you don’t exercise your rights. It is more important now than ever, for young people to be voting and getting a grip on the issues at hand. Why? Because knowledge is power and power creates change.

1. You’ll help steer the way your city/country is governed
2. You can benefit financially by placing the right person in power
3. You’re paying respect to our history which has made the right to vote available to you
4. You’re helping to build a better future/city/country for your kids to exist in
5. You won’t be considered a hypocrite when you complain about city policies/procedures
6. You have a say about how your taxes are used – no more mandatory municipal manicures!
7. You can save your city from being embarrassed and parodied on multiple platforms worldwide
8. You’ll have a sense of accomplishment/bragging rights when the person you vote for, wins
9. Know someone who’s voting for a nut job? You essentially cancel their vote out with yours
10. It makes you a part of conscientious collective that pushes for progress

The win/lose margins come so close, so all that BS about your vote not counting, is just that…BS. Take a moment out of your day and make an effort to see who is running and what their ideas are. Be an active citizen and take pride in having the liberty to head to the polls and make an informed decision. Your City, Your Vote.

For more info follow @torontovotes #TOvotes14

Posted by Samira Zia Rehman

Follow @1LOVETO #TOpoli #VoteOrDie

Sketching The Line

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Sketching the Line is an international exhibition of 78 sketches drawn by 13 artists from around the globe, featuring brief impressions of fellow commuters that document place, time and movement while simultaneously revealing a myriad of personal moments. Sketching the Line is part of PATTISON’s ongoing Art in Transit program and includes: architects, artists, art instructors, character designers, curators, and illustrators. Canadian contributors are Bobby Chiu and Kei Acedera of Imaginism Studios, and multimedia artist Nicole Little, all based in Toronto.

The exhibit runs until April 13 on PATTISON’s digital screens inside Toronto’s subway stations.

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For more info: artintransit.ca

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