Page 1








Chapman interiors from Canada to the Carribean

10 Tête-à-tête with Nicole Robert of Montreal’s GO Films



Winnipeg ad firm Spacecadet launches new iPhone app

PLUS: Who’s Watching Winnipeg’s Red River? • Bikes for Africa • GotStyle’s denim alternatives • Totum on goal setting • EquiSoft gets the most from your database


Supporting our other national game


TORONTO’S LUMINATO LIGHTS UP THE TOWN For 10 extraordinary days in June, Toronto’s stages, streets, and public spaces illuminated with arts and creativity.

Kurt Perschke’s Redball Project

QUEEN STREET EAST, TORONTO / – Remember all those glowing balls hanging at Yonge & Dundas Square last June? When live bands every night filled the open-air dance hall? Well that’s just a small part of what is fast becoming Toronto’s largest international arts and creativity festival. For the last two years, the Luminato team, housed in offices at the Queen Richmond Centre, has worked to bring artists and performers from around the world, presenting premieres as well as original work in both free and paid venues – all with an eye to promoting Toronto’s penchant as a global cultural hub. This year, the party started on Friday June 5th at Yonge & Dundas Square with legendary rocker Randy Bachman while nearby, Emmylou Harris, Patty Griffin, Shawn Colvin and Buddy Miller pack Massey Hall. The 2009 theme, was, you guessed it, the guitar, and while it saw an impressive line-up of performers, one of the more ambitious gigs was the June 6th recordbreaking attempt at the world’s largest guitar ensemble


Pierre Brault in 5 O’Clock Bells. (Photo:Christina Riley)

(the 1,623 guitarists gathered fell short of the record 1,802 set in Germany in 2007 with Smoke on the Water). The appearance of visual art in public places is another theme, and one thing locals kept an eye out for was a giant red ball installation that appeared in a new location on nine of the festival’s ten days. Theatrical innovator on Robert Lepage also made his presence known exploring themes of parenthood and adoption through the metaphor of the human voice in his North American debut of Lipsynch, a nine-hour multimedia epic. But these were just some of the 100 theatre, dance, classical and contemporary music, film, literature, visual arts, design events to see. It’s hard to offer a straightforward overview of Luminato as the fest is designed specifically to present as broad a range of cultural activities as possible. Festival CEO Janice Price likens it to a kaleidoscope, in other words, what you see depends on your motion, on where you are and how you look at it.

Toronto’s The Hive develops cause marketing program that sees Cadbury giving away bikes in Africa KING WEST CENTRAL, TORONTO / – “It’s kind of a balance thing,” explains Rick Shaver of The Hive Strategic Marketing. “The chocolate bar is a small treat for yourself, but that joy gets passed on when it becomes about delivering 5,000 bikes to Ghanian schoolchildren.” Armed with research showing consumers are more interested in helping a good cause than winning something, The Hive team developed a campaign that connects the purchase of Cadbury chocolate bars with the importance of a bicycle in rural Africa, where people must often travel long distances on foot. Indeed, a bicycle is four times faster than walking and it is used to deliver water and health care, as well as children to schools and the sick to hospitals. Besides using television and print ads, a May guerilla campaign tagged bicycles in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver with images of first aid kits (see below) and schoolbus stop signs to communicate that a bike is more than just a bike to some of the world’s populations. Between now and October, consumers are encouraged to register the UPC codes online of any Cadbury snacks they purchase. Logging in at, they can watch an animation of their bar code being made into a bike part. One hundred parts make one bike, and by October, Cadbury hopes to deliver 5,000 as a means of giving back to the country that has long been its cocoa source. Registered users are also eligible for a grand prize trip to Africa.

Des vélos en Afrique grâce au chocolat Se basant sur des recherches révélant que les consommateurs préfèrent soutenir une bonne cause que gagner un prix, The Hive, société de Toronto spécialisée dans le marketing stratégique, vient de lancer une campagne qui permet, par l’achat de barres de chocolat Cadbury, de contribuer à la fabrication d’un vélo destiné aux populations rurales d’Afrique souvent obligées de parcourir de longues distances à pied. Il faut savoir que le vélo est quatre fois plus rapide que la marche à pied et qu’il sert dans certaines régions à transporter l’eau et le matériel médical, mais aussi à emmener les malades à l’hôpital et les enfants à l’école. En plus des annonces publicitaires à la télévision et dans les journaux, une campagne monstre a été organisée en mai à Toronto, Montréal et Vancouver. On pouvait voir placardées sur des vélos des photos de trousses de premiers soins et d’arrêts d’autobus scolaires visant à faire comprendre que dans certains pays, un vélo est bien plus qu’un simple vélo. Jusqu’au mois d’octobre, les amateurs de barres Cadbury pourront enregistrer à l’adresse le CUP figurant sur leur papier d’emballage. Grâce à une animation, ils verront alors leur code barre se transformer en pièce de vélo. Il faut cent pièces pour fabriquer un vélo et d’ici le mois d’octobre Cadbury espère fournir 5 000 vélos, un geste de gratitude envers un pays qui, depuis des années, lui fournit son cacao. Les consommateurs qui s’inscrivent en ligne pourront aussi gagner un voyage en Afrique. 3 • SPRING/SUMMER 2009



Montreal IT recruiter, Kovasys bullish on Quebec’s technology sector growth By Micayla Jacobs

ST. LAURENT BLVD., MONTREAL / – When dollar, Kovalenko is surprised more U.S. companies aren’t Morgan Stanley sought to open an IT office in Montreal already coming north. In fact, he expects to see a lot of last year, this New York-based financial services firm growth in the future. needed to recruit employees with specific skill sets. According to Kovalenko, a senior developer in Boston That’s when the phones at Kovasys started ringing. making $85,000 Cdn would make about $60,000 Cnd “Morgan Stanley has invested heavily in Montreal’s in Montreal. “When you factor in tax credits, subsidies, infrastructure and labour market. That has lead to job lower salaries, a favourable exchange rate as well as lower creation in the province and it’s something we’re proud real estate costs, companies can easily save 50 to 70% to be a part of,” says Howard Scholl, a senior associate operating here.” he says. with this Montreal-based IT recruiting Beyond financial services firms, firm that specializes in connecting this small, up-and-coming agency in firms south of the border with a range the Balfour building on St. Laurent Three years after opening of technology professionals. Blvd. has helped companies like its doors Kovasys is the Kovasys is one of a growing cadre France Telecom and Ubisoft with number one Google hit for of the city’s IT-focused headhunters, their staffing needs and has estab‘IT recruitment in Montreal’. and three years after opening its lished satellite offices in Calgary doors, it has become the number and Edmonton to respond to the one Google hit for ‘IT recruitment IT markets growing in those cities. in Montreal’. But Kovalenko’s strength is connecting to the Quebec Despite the impacts of the recent economic recession market. To that end, he runs seminars about how IT in other sectors, IT in Quebec is a pretty good market firms locating in Quebec can save money. Frequently to be in, says Alex Kovalenko, Kovasys co-founder and teaming up with government presenters as well as other director of operations. HR professionals, his sessions examine accessing tax credits, applying for subsidies as well as running an With four universities and the Cité Multimedia effective recruitment process. technology park, the city has a growing pool of qualified and talented employees from which to choose. Given “The seminars are for our clients who are interested in this high level of education, the provincial government’s learning how to use technology to attract new hires and incentives to investors, and the relative savings on the how to save money,” he explains. COMMUNITY CHRONICLE • 4

Par Micayla Jacobs d’éducation, les aides incitatives du gouvernement provincial aux investisseurs, et les économies relatives réalisées grâce au taux de change, Kovasys s’étonne que les entreprises américaines ne sont pas plus nombreuses à venir s’implanter au nord. Il table, en fait, sur une forte croissance à l’avenir. Selon M. Kovalenko, un développeur de niveau supérieur gagnerait 60 000$ CAD à Montréal comparativement à 85 000$ CAD à Boston. « Lorsqu’on prend en considération les crédits d’impôt, les subventions, les salaires plus bas, un taux de change favorable ainsi que les prix moins élevés dans l’immobilier, les charges d’exploitation peuvent facilement être de 50 à 70 % moins élevées, » ajoute-t-il.

Trois ans après sa création, cette entreprise est devenue le premier résultat à s’afficher en réponse à l’interrogation « recrutement TI Montréal » dans Google.

BOUL. ST-LAURENT, MONTRÉAL / – Lorsque Morgan Stanley a voulu ouvrir un bureau de technologie de l’information (TI) à Montréal l’an dernier, il fallait que cette société de services financiers de New York recrute des employés dotés de certaines compétences en particulier. C’est alors que les téléphones se sont mis à sonner chez Kovasys. « Morgan Stanley a fait de gros investissements dans l’infrastructure et le marché du travail de Montréal. Ces investissements ont abouti à la création d’emplois dans la province, et nous sommes fiers d’y avoir participé, » explique Howard Scholl, principal associé de cette firme de recrutement de Montréal spécialisée dans le domaine de la TI et qui rapproche des entreprises établies au sud de la frontière avec divers experts en technologie. Kovasys fait partie d’un groupe de chasseurs de têtes de plus en plus nombreux dans la ville qui se spécialisent dans la TI. Trois ans après sa création, cette entreprise est devenue le premier résultat à s’afficher en réponse à l’interrogation « recrutement TI Montréal » dans Google. En dépit des répercussions de la récente récession économique sur d’autres secteurs, le marché de la TI du Québec est très profitable, à en croire Alex Kovalenko, cofondateur et directeur des opérations de Kovasys. La ville de Montréal qui compte quatre universités et le parc technologique Cité Multimédia élargit constamment son bassin d’employés compétents et talentueux. Étant donné ce niveau élevé

Outre des sociétés de services financiers, cette petite agence pleine d’avenir dont les bureaux se trouvent dans l’édifice Balfour sur le boulevard Saint-Laurent a fourni ses services en dotation de personnel à des sociétés comme France Télécom et Ubisoft, et elle a ouvert des bureaux satellites à Calgary et à Edmonton en réponse aux marchés de la TI en plein essor dans ces villes. Cependant, le point fort de Kovasys consiste à brancher des entreprises sur le marché québécois. À cette fin, l’entreprise organise des séances d’information pour expliquer à des entreprises œuvrant dans la TI comment leur implantation au Québec peut leur permettre de faire des économies. En faisant fréquemment équipe avec des présentateurs du gouvernement et d’autres spécialistes des RH, ces sessions portent sur l’accès aux crédits d’impôt, la demande de subventions et aussi sur un processus de recrutement efficace. « Ces séances d’information s’adressent à nos clients qui désirent savoir comment utiliser la technologie pour attirer de la main-d’œuvre et faire des économies, » explique-t-il.


3 WAYS...

1. GET REFUNDABLE TAX CREDITS Provincial programs allow companies to claim up to 30% of IT employee salaries in refundable tax credits. 2. HIRE SKILLED IMMIGRANTS THROUGH PRIIME PRIIME is a provincial program designed to help IT-skilled immigrants find work and allows the employer to claim up to 50% of the salary. 3. LEARN TO LEVERAGE SOCIAL NETWORKING TOOLS These tools are critical components to a successful recruitment IT process and can help save money.



Un recruteur de Montréal spécialisé dans la TI, optimiste quant aux perspectives de croissance du secteur technologique


Photos courtesy of NFL Canada

NFL Canada office in Toronto supports our ST. LAWRENCE MARKET AREA, TORONTO / When the Bills met Miami on December 7th last year, it marked the first time a regular season game was played in Toronto. Though not the team’s first foray into Ontario (in 1961 the Bills crossed the border to be defeated by the Ti-cats one August day in Hamilton), it was part of a long running recognition that the NFL has a tremendous fan base in Southern Ontario. That’s also part of the reason the NFL has an office in Toronto’s downtown east side. One of the National Football League’s goals, on a multi national basis, is to support the growth of the game of football. And that’s pretty much how NFL Canada, formed in 1997 as a division of NFL International (there are also NFL offices which in Mexico, UK, Japan and China) came into being. But don’t contact the office on Colborne Lane to buy official NFL goods. This team of six handles all of the National Football League’s business interests in Canada.


Canadian specific NFL marketing partnerships and sponsorships, such as work with Labatt, Reebok Canada, FedEx Canada and Frito Lay Canada are just some of the relationships it manages. It also handles broadcast and licensing matters nationally. Football has a rich history in Canada. Since 1890, it has been played in each Canadian province and the Grey Cup is in fact North America's oldest professional league championship trophy. What’s more, between 1.6 and 2 million Canadians watch NFL football each weekend. As a result, the football development system in Canada is strong. There are hundreds of thousands of youth playing organized football, more than 1,000 Canadians playing Canadian University football, more than 100 Canadians on NCAA football scholarships, more than 150 Canadians playing in the CFL, and 13 Canadians on NFL rosters last season

INCOMING... Quebec ‘House & Home’ Offices on St. Laurent Blvd

other national game

MONTREAL / – January saw House & Home Media launch Maison & Demeure, the French-language edition of Canadian House & Home Magazine from new offices in Le Balfour at 3575 St Laurent Blvd. The premiere February 2009 issue of the new monthly home and lifestyle title featured exclusive looks at some of the most beautiful and unique homes in Quebec and across the country and seeking to inspire readers with makeovers and renovations. The magazine will also feature profiles of Quebec-based designers, decorators and artisans, visits to the province’s best retailers and hottest restaurants, as well as a strong focus on the new and vibrant Quebec design scene. “The time is right to celebrate the growing importance of Quebec’s design community,” said publisher Lynda Reeves in a release, “We’re excited to finally have a sister publication that celebrates the exciting style and cuisine of Quebec.” Food is a big part of each issue, with menus and table setting ideas to turn even the simplest gathering into something chic and special. And Quebec’s top chefs promise to share their secrets and recipes. Like its English counterpart, Maison & Demeure also features decorating ideas, products and organizing tricks for every room, from paint colours and wallpaper to fabrics, furniture and accessories.

THE SUPER BOWL EFFECT With over 4.2 million registered viewers in 2009, the Super Bowl is the most watched annual sports event in Canada. As a ripple effect, the week before this annual event posts the best large-screen television sales. It is also the second most planned party of the year in Canada, marks the second greatest number of pizza deliveries, and is the second biggest week for grocery sales.


Big Red From its source at Lake Traverse in South Dakota, the mighty Red River flows northward 885 kilometers through North Dakota, Minnesota, and Southern Manitoba to Lake Winnipeg, the tenth largest freshwater lake in the world.

Big Floods


Canadian Forces were called in to help when water breached Winnipeg’s eight dikes destroying four of 11 bridges, forcing the evacuation of 70,000 people and causing between $600 million and $1 billion worth of damage and prompting the construction of the Red River Floodway.


That spring saw $6.5 billion in damages in the basin and required the temporary evacuation of towns and cities on both sides of the border.


By Friday, March 27, the river at Fargo, North Dakota, had reached the highest level in recorded history, 40.32 feet – more than 22 feet above flood stage slightly more than the previous high water mark of 40.1 feet.

27 Years of Cooperation The Red River Basin Commission was formed in 2002 as a result of a merger between the Red River Basin Board, The International Coalition, and the Red River Water Resources Council. But this commission is just the latest iteration of a history of cross border cooperation that goes back 27 years.


A model of cross-border cooperation, Winnipeg’s Red River Basin Commission has been keeping the water management dialogue going between cities, counties, states, and countries for 27 years. EXCHANGE DISTRICT, WINNIPEG / – Looking at the Red River, the island nation of Iceland might not immediately come to mind. But if you consider the size of the river’s basin, it is a close comparison. At 116,500 square kilometers, it’s not the largest river basin in the world (the Amazon comes in at about 7 million square kilometers) but it’s certainly large in terms of what it does and the number of people, places and organizations it affects – even when the river is not cresting to 100-year-flood levels. How much water flows through it and its quality are chief concerns for many cities, towns, counties, rural municipalities, watershed boards, water resource districts and power boards across three states, one province and two countries. With springtime images of modest prairie farm homes made into temporary islands by the Red’s rising waters, it’s easy to think of the main job of any commission concerned with managing all this as being about flooding. But that’s just one item on a list of 13 goals and objectives the Red River Basin Commission (RRBC) uses to measure progress and coordinate the activities of everything connected with the river and its tributaries. From a hydrological point of view, drainage basins are coherent entities, so it’s not uncommon to see a commission formed to manage the water resources of an individual basin. What is unique is its 27-year-history of cross-border cooperation. “It’s basically about creating a basin-wide consciousness,” says Bud Oliver, former Selkirk mayor and a long-time board member of the RRBC. What happens in one place on the basin affects what happens somewhere else, he explains, so managing this requires a lot of talking. And facilitating this basin-wide dialogue is a task that falls on the shoulders of the RRBC Board and the two RRBC offices, one in Moorhead, Minnesota, and the other in Winnipeg’s Exchange District.

Funded by state, provincial, and local governments, the commission is not an authority, but rather a facilitator, mediator, communicator, educator and problem-solver all rolled into one. Commission staffers travel the basin doing presentations and connecting with various stakeholders to create communication pathways. When it comes to water quality, for example, one region might measure differently than another. Getting all the players to adhere to common quality protocols can go a long way in sorting out something like a nutrient problem that shows up in Lake Winnipeg, into which the Red River drains. As one of the few rivers at this latitude to flow north, land use practices in the Red River basin can impact the water quality of the river system. This is just one of the many issues that must be continually managed. That’s why it’s important to maintain a big picture view. To this end, the commission’s 41-member board, with extensive public input, has developed a framework plan to help move matters forward on a basin-wide basis. The plan contains 13 goals, the first four of which focus on communication, research and coordination across jurisdictional boundaries, and the other nine look at water quality improvement, water supply, flood damage reduction, drainage, conservation, fish and wildlife, and outdoor recreation. While each jurisdiction is apt to start out with what is best for it, there’s no shortage of goodwill toward the commission and its goals, says Herm Martens, RRBC chair and reeve for the RM of Morris “People want to do the right thing, and when they are reminded of the bigger picture, they support us and they support the concept,” he says, adding that the commission’s role is one of dynamic problem solving, where the problems are often on going and the solutions need to continually be reaffirmed and worked on. 9 • SPRING/SUMMER 2009



All Systems GO

Photo: Yan Turcotte

Award-winning boutique production firm GO Films sees steady demand for Quebec content

Nicole Robert au tournage Le cas roberge.

RUE ATLANTIC, MONTREAL / – Despite tough economic times, film production in Quebec isn’t suffering. And Nicole Robert doesn’t see it losing its luster any time soon. “We will always have a need to create film because as a culture, we watch a lot of it,” says the president of GO Films, a 10-year old production company behind the popular televisions series La vie, la vie, and hit films such as Horloge Biologique and the spring darling of Quebec cinema, Tout est parfait. A 25-year veteran of this province’s film industry who has produced everything from La Guerre des tuques and Karmina to Québec-Montréal and Sur le seuil (currently optioned by L.A.’s Weinstein Company), Robert has seen film viewing move from being a weekly event to becoming a near daily occurrence with the advent of portable video and home theatre. “[Home theatre] made DVD, which was once a small market, into a very large one. And now we’re seeing this next move to the Internet,” she says.

GOOD BOX OFFICE FOR QUEBEC FILMS While producing Quebecois films may seem like catering to a small market, homegrown French language films are very popular with Quebec audiences and often more successful at the box office than English Canadian films. In fact, top-grossing Canadian films tend to be French language productions from Quebec.


GO Films looks to work on films that resonate with audiences. And this has garnered it some acclaim, from Québec-Montréal, an award-winning 2002 road trip film by director Ricardo Trogi, to Tout est parfait, a drama about teen suicide, which though touted by critics as one of the best films of 2008, has attracted controversy. Indeed recognizing oneself in a film like this can be disrupting, but director Yves-Christian Fournier said in an interview that male suicide and high school drop-out rates are top-of-mind subjects for ordinary Quebecois and policy makers.

SMALL FIRM WITH A HANDS-ON APPROACH As a boutique production firm, GO Films affords Robert the opportunity to be present at every stage of a production, from development (“I usually have 10 scenarios that I’m reading and evaluating at any given time.”), to financing (finding the director, the actors) to production (easily the most intense phase) and finally to the marketing and press tours. Ultimately, Robert shoots one to two productions a year. Having wrapped up, Les 7 jours du Talion, first feature directed by Podz, from the Patrick Senécal novel of the same title; and Mille Neuf Cent Quatre-Vingt-Un, her third project with Ricardo Trogi. She is currently working on the preproduction of Le Baiser du Barbu, Yves Pelletier’s second movie with Robert after their fruitful collaboration on the 2004 box office hit Les Aimants.

Le contenu québécois en forte demande d’après la maison de production primée GO Films RUE ATLANTIC, MONTRÉAL / – Les temps sont difficiles du point de vue économique, mais la production de films n’en souffre pas au Québec. Et selon Nicole Robert, cela ne devrait pas changer de si tôt. « Nous aurons toujours besoin de produire des films parce que la consommation des films a considérablement augmenté», confie la présidente de GO Films, la maison de production qui se cache derrière des séries télévisées populaires telles que La Vie, la vie, et des films à succès comme Horloge Biologique et le favori actuel du cinéma québécois, Tout est parfait. Avec plus de 25 années d’expérience au sein du secteur du film québécois et ayant produit de multiples projets allant de La Guerre des tuques à Karmina en passant par QuébecMontréal et Sur le seuil (dont les droits ont été acquis par The Weinstein Company basé à Los Angeles), Nicole Robert a vu une tendance se dessiner au fil des ans : voir un film était un événement hebdomadaire; c’est aujourd’hui quelque chose que les gens font presque tous les jours avec l’avènement des vidéos portables et des cinémas maison. « [Les cinémas maison] ont grandement contribué à étendre le marché des DVD. Et nous voyons maintenant Internet entrer dans le jeu, » explique-t-elle. « C’est pour moi, en tant que productrice, une situation fort intéressante parce qu’avec une distribution sur internet le producteur arrive directement au consommateur et les distributeurs et chaînes de cinémas ne prennent pas leur part du gâteau, » poursuit-elle en ajoutant rapidement que les énormes coûts de marketing et de publicité deviendront alors les siens, et que cela constitue un risque important pour une petite société qui finance la plupart de ses projets à l’aide de fonds publics.


UNE PETITE SOCIÉTÉ : UN TRAVAIL À TOUS LES NIVEAUX Parce que Go Films est une petite maison de production spécialisée, sa structure donne à Nicole Robert la chance de participer à toutes les étapes de la production, du développement (« Je lis et j’évalue en général 10 scénarios à la fois. ») au financement (trouver le réalisateur, les acteurs) en passant par la production (la phase de travail de loin la plus intense) et finalement par le marketing et les tournées promotionnelles. En fin de compte, elle tourne entre un et deux films par an. Ayant tout juste fini Les 7 jours du Talion, premier long métrage de Podz, tiré du roman de Patrick Senécal, et Mille neuf cent quatre-vingt-un, son troisième projet avec Ricardo Trogi. Elle travaille actuellement sur la pré-production du film Le Baiser du barbu, deuxième long métrage d’Yves Pelletier, réalisateur du film Les Aimants, un succés de salle en 2004 que GO Films a également produit.

Isabelle Blais, Les aimants

Photo : Bernard Fougères

Photo : Bertrand Calmeau

Photo : Bertrand Calmeau

Produire des films québécois semble revenir à servir un bien petit marché. Pourtant, les films de langue française produits au Québec sont très populaires auprès des Québécois et enregistrent souvent de meilleures recettes que les films canadiens en anglais. En fait, les films canadiens récoltant les meilleures recettes-guichet ont tendance à être des productions francophones émanant du Québec.

Il n’y a aucun doute que la langue française est un facteur d’importance, mais les films du Québec adoptent également une approche différente lorsqu’il s’agit de raconter une histoire. « Nous nous reconnaissons dans les émissions télévisées et les films que nous portons à l’écran, » poursuit Nicole Robert, dont le long métrage primé de 2002, Québec-Montréal, qui a été réalisé par Ricardo Trogi, présentait une perspective masculine sur les relations, un concept alors innovateur qui avait été particulièrement bien reçu par le public. Mais se retrouver dans un film peut aussi être source de profonde émotion. Ceci a été le cas au mois de février avec le film Tout est parfait, qui traite du suicide chez les adolescents et qui s’est retrouvé simultanément primé, sujet à controverse et porté aux nues par certaines critiques comme étant l’un des meilleurs films de 2008. Le réalisateur de ce film, Yves-Christian Fournier, a déclaré dans le cadre d’une entrevue que son film semble avoir touché un point sensible. Il estime que le suicide masculin et les taux de décrochage à l’école secondaire sont des sujets de très grande importance pour les Québécois et les responsables des orientations politiques.

Pierre-François Legendre et Catherine Proulx-Lemay, Horloge biologique

Maxime Dumontier et Chloé Bourgeois, Tout est parfait


Rien n’arrête GO


Urban Ideals With Kitchener-Waterloo’s professional class growing and the province focused on reviving downtowns, there has never been a greater need for planning and architectural landscaping firms like GSP Group. WAREHOUSE DISTRICT, KITCHENER / - When officials celebrated the opening of the revitalized Uptown Waterloo Public Square (pictured above) June 1st, the occasion served not only to mark the city’s 152nd birthday, but also to breathe new life into under-used urban spaces. And that’s something GSP Group has been hard at work doing since 1995. In the last few years, Kitchener-Waterloo has seen a tremendous amount of general urban development and adaptive use projects. Waterloo’s newest square is re-purposing this 1960s suburban-style, enclosed mall with street-front retail to make it the backdrop to a large plaza along King Street with seat steps leading to Waterloo Town Square and an upper level garden. (There are also plans to include a water feature and a skating rink.) “We’re seeing a lot of regeneration of urban uses,” says Chris Pidgeon, a principal with GSP Group, the urban planning and architectural landscape consultants on the project. “And they are complex because they’re already in an urban environment with existing sensitivities.” GSP Group, whose offices are themselves in a century-old former wooden arena seat factory at 72 Victoria Street South, has worked extensively on this type of project, its 25-person team doing public, private and institutional work throughout Ontario. Indeed the area’s revitalization is in part the result of the province’s 2005 Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, which seeks to limit sprawl into farmland by invigorating city centres and the built environment. But some of the private development GSP is working on, like Kitchener’s Kaufman Lofts and Waterloo’s The BarrelYards (on the historic Canadian Barrel site, manufacturer to Seagram’s Distillery), also speak to a demand for space from a growing number of people who want to live, work and play in a city. Formed in 1995 by three planners, GSP Group sought to offer a broader range of services when it soon added landscape architecture to its fold. It has enjoyed a steady stream of successes working for blue chip clients throughout southern Ontario, though not in the GTA (“That’s a different culture,” opines Pidgeon). And while some of its work is on greenfield sites, a glance at its portfolio will show much of its current projects are in urban settings. COMMUNITY CHRONICLE • 12

PORTFOLIO HIGHLIGHTS: KAUFMAN LOFTS: a 400-unit condo project converted from the former shoe factory where GSP secured development approvals and implemented some of the construction details through landscaped courtyards and rooftop gardens. THE BALSILLIE CENTRE FOR EXCELLENCE: an academic campus with the globally recognized Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) and the Universities of Waterloo and Wilfred Laurier on the former Joseph E. Seagram’s Distillery to provide postsecondary education in the research and study of international affairs to address world problems. THE UNIVERSITY OF WATERLOO SCHOOL OF PHARMACY AND THE MICHAEL G. DEGROOTE SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: a satellite medical school to McMaster University partnered with the University of Waterloo, GSP collaborated on the master plan and landscape design to develop a clean and contemporary treatment on the former Uniroyal Chemical site in downtown Kitchener.

Think beyond your jeans: Add more pant styles to your wardrobe than just denim. For about 400 years now, trousers have been the standard lowerbody clothing item for men. But in the last 10 years, jeans have moved from weekend wear to the centerpiece of every casual outfit, fast becoming the most common pant inside and out of the city. Melissa Austria at GotStyle on King Street West is aiming to change all that. “Business casual really brought the jean into the workplace as a common choice,” says Austria, explaining that the rule of thumb for

1. The cotton pant There are essentially two styles here, the 5-pocket style (i.e. jean-like) with a fullness in the thigh but that delivers a shaped silhouette, and the chino/ dresspant style, which is a little dressier. For this latter style, Austria is also seeing cotton pants with a sheen – like ones from Toronto label Bustle, “They’re almost a dress pant but in a cotton fabric,” says Austria.

business casual is to wear one casual item for two dressy ones. Observing this rule, it’s easy to see how jeans with a collared shirt and blazer has become the classic business casual outfit, but its popularity has limited pant-wearers’ imaginations, laments Austria who would like to bring more cotton chinos and playful wool patterns back into the workplace. Wondering what to look for and how to match it up? Here are three alternatives to jeans.

2. The striped or plaid pant An alternative to a solid chino, the striped or plaid should be matched with a solid-colour shirt for those unsure about how to mix patterns. If you do dare to mix it up, make certain the patterns aren’t the same size, so mix a small plaid with a larger plaid or stripe, for example.

3. The light dress pant This can be light wool, or a wool poly blend. Again, you can make this casual by wearing a proper-fitting polo shirt.




Photos courtesy of Chapman Design Group


FIRM COMMITMENT Toronto’s Chapman Design Group has a long history of creating client-centric interiors from Canada to the Carribean. BATHURST STREET, TORONTO / – The last time Alex Chapman saw an economic forecast like the one Toronto is currently staring at, his interior design firm was more than 10 years old and well established in the residential condominium marketplace, with a reputation built on the Queen’s Quay residences in 1982 and other high profile projects. “There will always be economic highs and lows, but the world will keep turning and there will still be a need for good design,” says Chapman, adding that his team is eyeing this go-around as an opportunity to streamline processes. One of the top firms in the city, Chapman Design Group has worked on residential developments in Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver and New York for the last 30 years and is well-known in the custom housing market, having done work on private Carribean islands as well as in the heart of Toronto.

DESIGN THAT RESONATES WITH THE CLIENT But finding Chapman’s mark on one of his projects may be difficult as the firm’s modus operandi is to create a design that resonates ultimately with the client. “There is no ‘signature’ look,” he explains. “Rather, we pride ourselves on creating the right look. Our ability to identify and interpret the client’s needs; both the ones they are aware of and the ones they haven’t even considered. Then we develop a concept that promotes intelligent or positive design that improves people’s lives and a businesses’ bottom line... that is what sets us apart.” Take the Liberty Lofts project, which earned the firm a 2008 ARIDO award for the bold graphic design of the model suite and sales office.

SPACE THAT ADAPTS TO THE USER’S NEEDS Channeling a boutique hotel, the small loft space is a response to the live-work dynamic seen in that market demographic and one that allows the entire space to adapt to the immediate needs of the user. When entertaining, the space becomes a kitchen and dining area, and when working it’s a studio space. Bi-fold doors, glass partitions and lacquered cabinetry are used to conceal all ‘live’ functions when the user needs to meet a client at a moment’s notice, for example. Another award-winner is the firm’s work on the residences at College Park. Just as this tower’s architecture pays homage to a famous art deco heritage property nearby, so does Chapman’s contemporary interpretation of that opulent style for the interiors. While the firm is very-well known for its detailed and client-centric residential design work across Canada, some of its most graceful work lies considerably further south in the Caribbean. INTERIORS THAT CAPITALIZE ON DRAMA OF THE TROPICS In St. Lucia, a 231-room resort project showcases the firm’s ability to source indigenous local materials and regional artisan craftsmanship. And its serenely graceful Cotton House, on one of the most exclusive islands in the Caribbean, was designed with opulent yet tranquil interiors to complement and capitalize on the dramatic tropical setting. Its diverse portfolio is in some part a means of weathering any uncertainty in the residential market, but its lengthy reputation for understanding client needs also goes a long way. “It’s what establishes our client’s trust and a strong sense of mutual value,” says Chapman, adding that it often leads to repeat assignments. “We don’t just look at the short-term results, but have a long-term plan.”



There is no signature look. Rather, we pride ourselves on creating the right look.

HOW TO GET THE MOST FROM YOUR DATABASE From financial services and music rights management to magazine subscription tools, this Montreal software firm keeps on the cutting edge of solving digital data dilemmas.

CITE MULTIMEDIA, MONTREAL / – When Luis Romero talks about his software company’s history, it is measured not in years, but in projects. “250,” says the 40-year-old head of EquiSoft, a digital solutions firm at 700 Wellington Street. “We talk in terms of projects because most of what we do is projects – and we don’t staff up for just one single contract, we develop a lot of turnkey solutions where we share risk with clients,” he says, explaining that most of what his team develops forms the basis for long-term relationships with over 60 clients. These relationships have guided the company, helping it grow steadily to 75 employees and open two branch offices, one in Toronto and the other in Philadelphia.

SOLUTIONS TO DRIVE CLIENT REVENUES EquiSoft’s collaborative approach and penchant for creating solutions that can help actually drive revenue are also at the root of its growth. Formed in 1994 originally to develop financial planning software (which is still used today by some of the world’s largest banks), the firm has nurtured an expertise building web-based applications that help clients with data management challenges. Rogers Publishing, for example, has several trade publications with massive databases online, Meetings Canada and CARD (Canadian Advertising Rates and Data) are just two such properties. Creating the front end functionality of the web site is one thing, but getting everything to connect properly for users searching the database, i.e., the heart of such web sites, is another challenge entirely. CLIENTS DO MORE WORK WITH LESS “80 percent of our workforce – that’s all they do – they integrate with different systems for different clients,” says Romero whose background in actuarial mathematics gives him an appreciation for complex problems. COMMUNITY CHRONICLE • 16

“Clients want to do more work with less people, and any integration can reduce the manual work,” he says, drawing from the example of client Protègez-vous, Québec’s consumer protection magazine. Here, EquiSoft had to implement a magazine subscription tool that would tie into the web site. It needed to work for web site users, but also have functionality for the back office and integrate with the publishing platform. Key elements of that solution have also been tailored to work for several Rogers publications as well as TVA publications. In fact, Romero now estimates some half a million subscriptions across Canada are renewed using EquiSoft software.

RIGHTS MANAGEMENT THAT MAKES SENSE Music royalties is another area laden with complexity and databases where EquiSoft managed to enact a solution, initially for SOPROQ Quebec’s music copywriting service. Here, radio stations submitted logs to pay for the music they played, and it was up to the EquiSoft team to develop a means of taking the data from the radio stations and sorting it through various channels so that in the end, royalty cheques could be written for artists and producers. “It used to be a pretty labour intensive job,” says Romero, explaining that with tax issues, categorizations of song titles, issues surrounding remakes, coordination with performers unions and taking into account exchanges with international collectives, for example, the rights management field is one fraught with complexity. GROWING IN LESS-THAN-CERTAIN TIMES But complexity is what appears to drive Romero and his team. “Much of what we do is highly operational,” he says looking to describe what has most contributed to EquiSoft’s continued growth in a less-than-certain economic climate. “If you don’t like the colour of your website, you won’t rush to change it this year,” says Romero. “But if your web site suffers because it’s not transactional and your staff is on the phone with users because the site can’t serve them, then we have a business problem to solve.”


EquiSoft : des solutions innovatrices à la gestion des banques de données CITÉ MULTIMÉDIA / MONTRÉAL / – Lorsque Luis Romero parle de l’histoire de sa société de services et de conseils en informatique, il ne la mesure pas en années, mais en projets. « 250 », proclame le chef (40 ans) d’EquiSoft, société de solutions numériques située au 700, rue Wellington à Montréal. Son approche collaborative et son aptitude à créer des solutions qui font effectivement augmenter les revenus sont à l’origine de sa croissance. Fondée en 1994, au départ pour développer des logiciels de planification financière (qui sont encore utilisés de nos jours par quelques-unes des plus grandes banques du monde), l’entreprise a perfectionné ses connaissances dans l’élaboration d’applications Web qui permettent à ses clients de faire face aux difficultés liées à la gestion des données.

PAR EXEMPLE… Rogers Publishing possède plusieurs revues spécialisées gérant d’énormes bases de données en ligne, entre autres Meetings Canada et CARD (Canadian Advertising Rates and Data) pour n’en citer que deux. La création de la fonctionnalité frontale du site Web est une chose, mais faire en sorte que tout soit connecté comme il faut pour les usagers qui effectuent des recherches sur la base de données, c’est-à-dire le point central des sites Web de ce genre, est une autre paire de manches. « C’est tout ce que font 80 % de nos effectifs. Ils travaillent à l’intégration de différents systèmes pour divers clients, » explique Luis Romero dont la formation en mathématiques actuarielles lui permet d’évaluer des problèmes complexes. « Les clients veulent accomplir davantage avec moins de personnel, et toute intégration permet de réduire le travail manuel, » explique-t-il, en donnant l’exemple de Protégez-vous, le magazine québécois de la protection des consommateurs. Dans ce cas-là, EquiSoft a dû mettre au point un outil pour les abonnements qui se raccorderait au site Web. Il fallait que les usagers du site Web puissent s’en servir, mais qu’il dispose aussi de la fonctionnalité nécessaire pour le service d’appui et qu’il puisse s’intégrer à la plate-forme d’édition.

Les éléments clés de cette solution ont été spécialement conçus pour plusieurs publications de Rogers ainsi que pour TVA Publications. En fait, M. Romero estime que le logiciel d’EquiSoft est maintenant utilisé partout au Canada pour le renouvellement d’environ un demi million d’abonnements.

SOLUTION AU PROBLÈME DES REDEVANCES Les redevance musicales sont un autre domaine excessivement complexe, dans lequel les bases de données abondent, et EquiSoft a réussi à mettre au point une solution, initialement pour le service québécois de gestion des droits d’auteur musicaux SOPROQ. Dans ce cas-là, les stations de radio soumettaient des rapports détaillés pour payer pour la musique qu’elles jouaient, et EquiSoft avait été chargé de développer un moyen d’acheminer les données fournies par les stations de radio à travers divers canaux, afin qu’au bout du compte des chèques pour les redevances puissent être envoyés aux artistes et aux producteurs. « Ce travail exigeait autrefois beaucoup de main-d’œuvre, » ajoute M. Romero, en expliquant qu’en raison des considérations d’ordre fiscal, de la catégorisation des titres des chansons, des problèmes liés aux nouvelles versions des chansons, de la coordination avec les syndicats des interprètes et en tenant compte des échanges avec des collectives internationales, par exemple, le domaine de la gestion des droits d’auteur est excessivement complexe. Mais il semble que la complexité est justement ce qui anime Luis Romero et son équipe. « Notre travail est en grande partie hautement opérationnel, » explique-t-il pour décrire ce qui est à l’origine de la croissance continue d’EquiSoft dans une conjoncture moins que certaine. EquiSoft continue de prendre de l’expansion; l’entreprise a maintenant 75 employés et, outre à Montréal, occupe des bureaux à Toronto et à Philadelphie. Beyond software development: (ABOVE) EquiSoft works with Rogers Publishing on web site properties such as and SODEP, the Quebec development agency for periodicals managing online databases. (LEFT) Workstations in EquiSoft’s open-concept office environment.


TOTUM TIPS: Know why you are working out Tim Irvine, M.Sc.

The first Sunday in May was a crisp sunny morning that saw 12,468 people raced 10 kilometers down Toronto’s Yonge Street. It was the largest field in that race’s history and seems to lend credence to a University of North Carolina professor’s findings over ten years that people tend to adopt healthier habits in response to threats of a collapsing economy: alcohol and cigarette consumption rates decline and inactive people tend to exercise more.* If you are investing in personal training or a club membership, it is important you get value for your money and the best way to do this is to figure out why you are doing it. Without this very simple step of goal setting (it should really only take a few minutes) you could end up on a trip with no destination.

NARROW DOWN YOUR REASONS The most common goals for working out include weight loss, improved health, to feel better, and to look better (more toned). Other than weight loss, none of the other goals have actual numbers you can attach to them, which means you won’t be able to measure progress, much less know when you’ve reached your goal. Take ‘improved health’ as an example. To focus on a more realistic goal, you need to know what ‘improved health’ means to you. Do you want to reduce the risk of a certain disease that runs in your family? Reduce blood pressure? Sleep better? Reduce aches and pains? Have better mobility as you age?

CHOOSE SOMETHING YOU CAN MEASURE If reducing blood pressure was your second level goal, then get specific with that. Know what your blood pressure is today and then determine a target blood pressure you want to achieve. From this will come a number of action items. These can include, perform more cardio work, change diet, begin taking medication, or add an additional training session. Whatever they are, you will be * A Healthy Economy Can Break Your Heart, Christopher J. Ruhm, University of North Carolina at Greensboro; March 2006.


able to gauge their importance and effectiveness against the very specific target of lowering blood pressure.

KNOW WHERE YOU ARE GOING AND WHY Once these action items have been identified, you are on your way to specifically working towards your target. Most importantly, you now know why you are working out every time you put on your running shoes. Only a handful of those 12, 468 runners that May morning expected to actually win the race, as for the rest, crossing that finish line represented a very actionable item that helped them move closer to their own personal goal. ONCE YOU GET THERE, SET A NEW GOAL And once you’ve reached your target, it’s time to repeat the process. As you progress, your capacity will improve and the available options will also expand with your fitness level. Tim Irvine is president, co-founder and a personal trainer at Totum Life Science, and has helped hundreds of clients identify fitness goals and turn these into a long-term healthy lifestyle.

TOTUM OLYMPICS 2009 First annual event ties goal setting in fitness to fundraising in health care Totum regulars, friends, colleagues and fellow fitness enthusiasts spent the month of May training for the first annual Totum Olympics, whose fundraising efforts will go to the Sick Kids Hospital Foundation. Challengers registered early in the spring and then started training to compete in one, some, or all of the events, which included, fastest mile on the treadmill, push-ups, chin-ups and low squats to name a few. To learn more about next year’s event, go to



KING WEST CENTRAL, TORONTO / – Recognizing the leasing efforts of its brokerage partners, Allied Properties REIT hosted over 100 brokers for an evening of cocktails and oysters – and a chance at winning a Vespa. Leading real estate advisors from CB Richard Ellis, Avison Young and DTZ Barnicke all attended this spring function, but only one lucky rider left the premises on the back of a new Vespa S50. (Congratulations Matthew Steele of Avison Young!)

The Ivy at Verity New four-room Toronto hotel inspired by Europe’s best boutique overnighters

QUEEN STREET EAST, TORONTO / – Inspired by the small boutique hotels in Europe, The Ivy at Verity is an authentic, full service old fashioned hotel that opened in February at Toronto’s Queen-Richmond Centre. The hotel is part of the Aitken-Gundy group of companies, which also includes Verity Women’s Club, George Restaurant and Sweetgrass Spa & Flowers. Each of the four rooms has its own unique décor and is appointed with the finest amenities. But part of what makes this a uniquely comfortable experience are the beds. As the team at Verity is always on the lookout for the best in comfort, it has appointed its four rooms with $20,000 Hästens beds, the world-famous Swedish handmade beds whose organic mattresses are made of horsehair, cotton, linen and wool, and which range from $5,000 to $50,000. Hästens, which was founded in 1852, is Sweden’s oldest manufacturer of beds and started out by primarily making saddles and carriage furniture. The main filling material used for saddles was horsehair and back then it was common knowledge that horsehair also provided the best possible filling material for mattresses.



Winnipeg’s Spacecadet Approaching Orbit 10-years on, this nimble advertising and design firm is buying the competition, growing its client base, and building an iPhone app. EXCHANGE DISTRICT, WINNIPEG / – There is no shortage of talented, mid-sized advertising and design agencies in Winnipeg, but indeed, where is a bathroom when you need one? Chris Clarke has the answer on hand in one of his firm’s latest projects, an iPhone application called WhereToWee that gives users locations and ratings for the nearest restroom anywhere in North America. “In Winnipeg advertising, you have to be a jack-of-alltrades,” explains Clarke, president and creative director of 10-year-old Spacecadet, the agency co-developing the user interface for the mobile bathroom locator application as well as creating the branding and marketing that will support its rollout. While acquiring another local firm, Velocity, has helped to grow its reach, Spacecadet maintains a well-deserved reputation for creating local work that can stand with international competitors. “Our approach is that our clients should be able to stand alongside New York and London competitors and fit in. And not look like the little town version of a bigger web site,” says Clarke. For Spacecadet’s upcoming revamp of The Winnipeg Art

Gallery’s site, his team is positioning it not as a local attraction, but rather as one among its international peers. Along with vice president and senior art director Karla Burr, Clarke runs a design-driven firm whose strength is “talking”, that is, creating an aesthetic for print and web that genuinely seeks to connect with an audience, interfacing with a user in a way that is both familiar and whimsical. It’s what has helped the firm win awards in advertising and web design, garnered Clarke a teaching position at the University of Manitoba (when his schedule permits), and helped put Spacecadet on the map as a respected business-to-consumer advertising agency. A current campaign with a local lumber yard, Star Building Materials, for example, uses whimsy and straightforward value propositions, such as highlighting staff experience and friendliness. Looking to expand its client base to include more business-to-business work is one reason for the recent acquisition of Velocity, says Clarke. While it will continue to service existing clients such as the government of Manitoba and the Manitoba Lottery Commission, Spacecadet expects to also move deeper into the agricultural and biotech fields.


Send your company info, events and story ideas to

Chronicle - Spring 2009  

The Allied Properties REIT Tenant Magazine

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you