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8 Winnipeg’s HTFC Landscape Architecture gets top honours

14 Quebec City Flash Gamers: Berzerk



Spadina coffee roaster Sense Appeal offers a ‘never static and never automatic’ menu.

166 Shelly Purdy: Toronto designer starts with a ring

PLUS Ubisoft Vancouver • Silver Jeans Co. • Totum Tips on Stretching • Calgary’s Sociale


THREE DYNAMIC CORE STRETCHES Totum’s training director sheds some light on the gentle art of being flexible.


Chris Kornacki uses a simple test to determine your range of mobility. He asks you to move into a deep squat while holding a bar overhead. This shows him your ankle, hip as well as upper back and shoulder mobility. “Less than one in ten people I ask to do that can do it without much trouble,” says the Personal Training Director for Totum Life Science’s King Street West location. This, he says, is just a fact of our desk-jockeying ways, and if we want to improve our flexibility beyond our ability to sit and stand, we should look to stretching. But don’t start static stretching (i.e., from a resting position) just yet, advises Kornacki, a former gymnastics coach with certifications in strength training and fascial stretch therapy.




“If you are looking to stretch as a means of increasing flexibility, you can do static stretches anytime up to six hours after a workout,” he says, adding that studies have found the optimal time is actually before you go to bed. But static stretching, that is the deep-feeling, stretch-and-hold positions, should not be done before your workout. It could even have a negative affect on muscle performance, he says advising instead to focus on dynamic warm ups like leg swings and shoulder circles to get the fluids working through your joints. Or use this set of three dynamic core stretches. “Think of them as a series of movements rather than stretches,” says Kornacki, adding that these can be done at the start of a workout to warm up your core muscles. Do them one after the other on one side and then switch and repeat on the other side. – Yvan Marston

HIP FLEXORS 1. Start in the lunge position with your right leg back, chest up and right hip forward.

2. Bring your right arm up, right hips forward and bend over your left side, arching back slightly.

3. Rotate your chest upwards, turning your palm up. Then move into the Glutes stretch.




GLUTES 1. From the hip flexor position, bring your right leg forward and sit on your right side with one leg bent in front of the other. Put your hands on the floor in front of you to support your torso.

2. Now bend your arms to bring your body toward the floor and move side to side.

3. And come back up into the start position. 1



LATS 1. From the Glutes position, roll to your right side and drop onto your right arm.

2. Reach your left arm overhead and rotate your chest up. 3. Reach your hand outward, turning your palm up.

For more videos on stretching, to read the Wellness Blog or to sign up for a FREE week at Totum Life Science on King Street West, visit • 2

Allied Properties REIT Vancouver Acquisition Adds a Third Ubisoft Studio to National Portfolio Vancouver

• Cambie St. in Vancouver • 100 employees • Worked on Pure Futbol and Academy of Champions.

Quebec City


• Boul. Charest Est in Québec City • 300 employees • Worked on Prince of Persia, Battle of Giants and collaborated on Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood

TORONTO / - With the recent acquisition of its first Vancouver building, Allied Properties REIT is now housing three of gaming giant Ubisoft’s four Canadian studios. Until the announcement last summer that Toronto had attracted a fourth Ubisoft studio, Canada only had three of the video game developer’s 24 in-house production locations. Founded in the mid-’80s by five French brothers, Ubisoft is now one of the largest entertainment software developers and publishers in the world with annual revenues of close to a billion euros. It has the second largest development force in the world, employing some 6,400 people, about 5,350 of whom are dedicated to production. Rather than outsource and create partnerships with smaller existing firms, which is a more common approach, Ubisoft bet on the use of internal development from the start. With major studios in Romania, China and Canada, and smaller ones in 13 other countries, each team works to develop specific projects in their entirety, cranking out between three to four titles a year each. The Montreal studio was Ubisoft’s first in Canada and the abundance of talent and technical know-how saw it yield one the company’s top-selling games of all time: Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell, which sold some 22 million units. The 2,000 employees who work out of the Montreal space now make it one of the largest single development studios in the world, producing top titles like the Prince of Persia and Assassin’s Creed franchises. The second largest Ubisoft studio in the world is in Quebec City. Its 300 employees put out around two to four projects a year and have worked on Prince of Persia, Battle of Giants and collaborated on Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood with Montreal, Singapore and Annecy (France). As for Vancouver, its 100 employees have laid claim to successes such as Pure Futbol and Academy of Champions.

• Boul. Saint-Laurent in Montreal • 2000 employees • Works on Prince of Persia and Assassin’s Creed franchises

Un troisième studio Ubisoft s’ajoute au portefeuille d’Allied TORONTO / - Grâce à l’acquisition de son premier édifice à Vancouver, Allied Properties REIT abrite maintenant trois des quatre studios canadiens de Ubisoft, le géant du jeu électronique. Jusqu’à l’été dernier lorsque Ubisoft a annoncé que Toronto allait accueillir son quatrième studio canadien, le Canada ne comptait que trois des 24 studios de production interne du concepteur de jeux vidéo. Le studio de Montréal est le premier de Ubisoft à s’être implanté au Canada et grâce à ses prodigieuses compétences et à son savoir-faire technique, il est à l’origine d’un des jeux Ubisoft les plus populaires de tous les temps : Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell, vendu à quelque 22 millions d’unités. Les 2 000 employés des bureaux de Montréal font de ce studio de développement un des plus grands du monde, produisant des titres comme Prince of Persia et Assassin’s Creed. Le deuxième studio de Ubisoft par la taille est installé à Québec. Ses 300 employés réalisent deux à quatre projets par an et ont participé à la création de Prince of Persia et Battle of Giants. Ils ont aussi travaillé à la conception d’Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood en collaboration avec Montréal, Singapour et Annecy (France). Quant aux 100 personnes de Vancouver, elles sont une partie du succès de Pure Futbol et Academy of Champions. 3 • SPRING 2011


THE COFFEE LAB With a selection based on bean growing seasons and weekly roasting sessions, Toronto’s Sense Appeal brings some truly fresh brew to King West Central. By Yvan Marston • 4

“The process of roasting is based in science. It’s a matter of controlling and manipulating variables.” – Peter Adamo

When it opened in November, Sense Appeal, a partnership between Adamo and Robert Rota, saw line ups thanks to a successful social media campaign and free coffee giveaways. This early February morning also proves busy because Sense Appeal’s Facebook page has just hit a milestone of 300 likes. At every 100, on its way to reaching “a bajillion,” the 500-square-foot shop lodged in what was formerly a barber shop gives away free americanos all day. But what’s interesting about this free coffee is that it is good. Really good.

COFFEE BY TERROIR Two and half years ago, Adamo was a sommelier at Hockley Valley Resort north of Toronto when the chef asked him to pair the right coffee with a dessert. “I really had no idea about coffee, so I contacted the Green Beanery [one of the largest coffee and coffee equipment retailers in Canada] to learn more,” says Adamo, in a baritone you’d expect from his tall and lanky frame. He began learning about the growing regions and bean styles and how geography, geology and climate all come to bear on this, the world’s second most traded commodity. “Wine is an agricultural product defined by its terroir, so maybe I can apply some of my understanding of this to coffee,” reasoned Adamo. He travelled to Central and South America as well Australia. He learned about the varietals farmers were planting based on soil types and built a network of independent growers. Much like a market fresh menu, the great white sheets hanging from the 19-foot ceilings at Sense Appeal change as different bean types become available. Fresh beans can be warehoused for five months at the most but once they are roasted, they come straight to the “lab” and form the week’s selection.

“Flavours take time to develop usually over the course of a week depending on the way the coffee was processed,” says Adamo who typically roasts several varieties off site every week. Sense Appeal actually began as a commercial supplier of high quality roasted coffee, supplying many of the city’s five-star establishments.

SCIENCE OF THE ROAST Adamo began roasting over a year ago. Properly obsessed with trying to perfect his home roasting technique, he was in traffic one day when he spotted a flatbed truck carrying a Diedrich IR12, a refrigerator-sized commercial roaster. He decided to follow it and when he connected with the owner, a deal was struck and Adamo set about learning the intricacies of commercial roasting. “The process of roasting is based in science. It’s a matter of controlling and manipulating variables,” explains Adamo who contacted a geneticist friend for tips and even sourced a research paper on volatilities in coffee roasting. Months of trial and error, and careful documentation using scientific methodology (hence the periodic table inspired coffee names and packaging), led to a handful of reliable roast profiles that would form the CS, B, HN and S beans. As for the space itself, the millwork is finished with roughhewn, 100-year-old Ontario barnwood, and the tall ceiling and expansive windows keep the bar area from feeling too compact. Indeed, it’s a great place for cupping a quick shot of espresso, but any lingering is best done in the lobby space of 96 Spadina where the café also has several tables and chairs spread over two levels.

For every 100 new likes on Sense Appeal’s Facebook page, the 500-square-foot shop lodged in what was formerly a barber shop gives away free americanos all day.

5 • SPRING 2011


KING WEST CENTRAL, TORONTO / - Coffee geeks rejoice: you have a new king. Peter Adamo has taken his sommelier’s palette and keen interest in the science of roasting coffee beans to build his very own “lab.” Some, however, might know it simply as Sense Appeal. It’s an airy corner of 96 Spadina’s lobby manned by enthusiastic baristas happily steaming and pressing brews (no drip coffee here) for a public that extends well beyond the building tenants.


COMPLETE COLLECTION Having covered bottoms, Silver Jeans Co. opens a Montreal design studio to focus exclusively on men’s and women’s tops. By Yvan Marston

AVE DU PARC, MONTREAL / - There are boxes stacked three high and racks of women’s and men’s tops lined up in front of the 10-foothigh factory windows in the loft space this team of six has easily outgrown. Giovanna De Capua sits partially obscured behind a rolling rack of samples destined for a trade show in Las Vegas next week. She is on the phone, patiently scheduling time for her Internet provider to set up the network in the new space at 6300 Parc Ave that she and her designers will move into next week. Growth has been brisk for this Silver Jeans Co. design office that was established in Montreal only two years ago as part of Winnipeg-based Silver Jeans Co. plan to expand its offerings from mid luxury jeans to a more complete collection that includes tops. “The Schmata industry is really big in Montreal, this is where you are going to get the talent,” says De Capua, who in the last 15 years has worked for a number of other brands, including Dex, Groggy and Jack & Jones. In April of 2009, De Capua was approached by Silver Jeans Co. president Michael Silver to manage the design studio for the company’s tops.

CHANGING MARKET Recognized as an innovator, Silver and design director Allan Kemp established the Silver Jeans Co brand in 1991 with the release of a unisex pant with a 24" leg opening called the “Big Guy”. That was in the early 1990s, when Levis’ dominance over the jeans market began to wane as designer brands such as Parasuco and Hollywood Jeans gained a foothold. Ringing in at the $100 price point, Silver Jeans came to be known as a reliable mid-luxury brand and a favourite among women for its attention to fit. The vast sourcing capabilities of Silver Jeans Co.’s parent company Western Glove Works allows the brand to offer premium European denims milled specifically for the brand, such as • 6

marketed in the 1970s when a Cartersville, Georgia, jeans salesman named Hal Burgess had a flood in the hotel room where he was storing his jeans. He rented the hotel pool for the day to wash the flooded jeans and when they shrunk, Hal decided to market them as ’pre-washed’ jeans, selling them two sizes smaller than they were initially labeled.

Le studio montréalais de Silver Jeans Co., se consacre exclusivement à la création de hauts masculins et féminins AV. DU PARC, MONTRÉAL / - Il y a deux ans, Silver Jeans Co., société de jeans basée à Winnipeg, a ouvert un studio à Montréal dans l’idée d’élargir sa collection. En plus de ses jeans de catégorie « luxe intermédiaire », elle souhaitait proposer une gamme de vêtements plus complète, comprenant notamment des hauts. Ces deux premières années ont été marquées par une croissance très rapide.

Italian Candiani or Australian Brad Mills, at an extremely competitive price point. And that has made Silver Jeans a favorite among North American retailers like Nordstrom, Macy’s, The Buckle and over 500 specialty stores nationwide.

« À Montréal, l’industrie du vêtement est très importante et c’est un puits de talent », explique Giovanna De Capua, qui ces 15 dernières années a travaillé pour différentes marques – Dex, Groggy et Jack & Jones.

TOP CHALLENGE Silver’s demographic tends towards young adults and it seeks to provide a more complete collection by designing tops. But tops are difficult, explains De Capua. “Designers can come up with something really cool, but will it sell?” she asks, explaining that her role is to bridge the gap between what is designed and what the buyers / retailers will want to order. Her team works on four collections of a year. The major collections are Spring and Fall and these can encompass as many as 60 pieces. The two smaller collections are the high Summer and holiday releases. These are meant to freshen up stock, peppering existing retail with a few new looks. Currently, the Silver Jeans collections are designed around its marketing concept of The Family: a group of friends that form a surrogate family and in which potential buyers may recognize aspects of themselves and their lifestyles.

C’est en avril 2009 que Giovanna De Capua a été contactée par le président de Silver Jeans Co., Michael Silver, pour diriger le studio de Montréal. « Les créateurs peuvent imaginer un vêtement très chouette, mais se vendra-t-il? », demande-t-elle en ajoutant que son rôle est de faire le lien entre ce que l’équipe crée et ce que les acheteurs ou les commerçants auront envie de commander. Son équipe dessine quatre collections par an. Celles de printemps et d’automne sont les principales, elles peuvent compter jusqu’à 60 articles. Les collections d’été et de vacances sont plus restreintes et ont pour but d’ajouter une touche de fraîcheur aux stocks existants en agrémentant la collection de quelques nouveautés.

SILVER BUYER Silver Jeans buyers, explains De Capua, are typically 15 to 40 years old with the bulk of the buyers in their 20s. And the brand does particularly well in Alberta and B.C. as well as in smaller urban markets in Ontario. Recognized for its fit and quality of finish, Silver jeans tend to appeal to its female buyers through its price point as a mid-priced luxury brand. The tops market, however, is less brand-driven and much more competitive, explains De Capua. “A woman will buy one pair of jeans and four tops, for example. And she’ll spend $200 on the jeans and $20 on the top.” In the end, it’s a strategy game, she says. An experienced team uses market research to make educated guesses as to what is the right combination of quality and price. “For women, it’s always going to be about fit, style and price point, in that order.”

Giovanna De Capua (third from right) and the Silver Jeans Co. Montreal design team. 7 • SPRING 2011





After 40 years of weaving together cultural interpretation, geography and firm has become the region’s own force of nature. By Yvan Marston

EXCHANGE DISTRICT, WINNIPEG / - Where the Assiniboine and Red Rivers meet, a sheltered bowl, formed by a three-meter-deep depression in the ground, pays tribute to 7,000 years of culture and tradition. Eight sculptural steel armatures surround the bowl, each reaching skyward to define precise sightlines for visitors to view specific stars. This is the Oodena Celebration Circle. It is part of The Forks, a gathering place for thousands of years and easily one of the most important historical places in Western Canada. The Forks receives hundreds of thousands of visitors every year, and while much of it celebrates heritage, the Circle reaches deep into the notion of spirituality and place. “Cultures have been coming to this place since glaciation. [The Circle] looks at what it means to find a place on this earth that builds on shared experiences of wonder and engagement with our surroundings,” says Glen Manning, the principal in charge of urban design with Hilderman Thomas Frank Cram Landscape Architecture and Planning (HTFC).

CULTURAL LANDSCAPES It would be easy to see this as mainly an aboriginal site, but HTFC founder and firm principal Garry Hilderman thought of the Circle as a reflection of all the cultures that have congregated here over millennia. • 8

“The trick,” explains another firm principal, Monica Giesbrecht, who specializes in education, healthcare and recreation design, “was to do all this in a way that was elegant and that would be compatible with a broad cross-section of spiritual beliefs.” To that end, the site is imbued with a reverence for the natural elements of earth, fire, water and sky. That’s one of HTFC’s true strengths, explains Manning, understanding and interpreting a place’s cultural landscape.

REGIONAL EXPERTISE Forty years ago, Hilderman was a one-man firm working from his attic sorting out the complexities of a master plan for Whiteshell Provincial Park, which covers 2,792 square kilometers of the province’s east border. Still recognized as a leader in regional-scale landscape architecture and planning, HTFC now occupies 6,000 square feet over two floors at 115 Bannatyne Ave East in the Exchange District. Some 30 people fill the space and collaborate in areas such as historic site restoration and interpretation, urban design and revitalization, waterfront planning and First Nations projects.


The Oodena Celebration Circle at the Forks celebrates the space’s power as a gathering place for thousands of years.

TOP HONOURS Garry Hilderman had a busy November. Fresh from the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce Business Awards, where Hilderman Thomas Frank Cram took top honours for outstanding small business of the year, he was off to Rideau Hall in Ottawa to receive the Order of Canada for his 40 years of working to create and develop Manitoba parks, historical sites and environmental projects – both as a landscape architect and volunteer. And in February, the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects bestowed the firm with its National Honour (the top award) for their work on the Red River Floodway.

urban design, this Winnipeg landscape architecture

“We mainly practice in Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario, where we developed an expertise in prairie and boreal forest landscapes,” says Manning, adding that in terms of staff and projects, HTFC is the largest pure landscape and planning firm in the region.

WINNING WORKPLACE With some years counting as many as 180 projects on the boards, HTFC has a breadth and depth of experience that is atypical. It is often called upon for its expertise in recreation planning, regional land use and even treaty land entitlement work. “Our collaborative approach, in some ways came from our work with aboriginal groups,” explains Manning. HTFC’s method was not to charge into a remote community with big ideas and lofty plans, he says. Instead, it engaged in a collaborative process. “Rather than being product oriented, we are process oriented,” adds Giesbrecht. “You can’t just jump to solutions. They just won’t be successful unless you work with the community.” That collaborative spirit is also how it functions internally. In fact, its workplace culture helped the firm win top honours for outstanding small business from the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce last year.

REGIONAL DEVELOPMENTS Expanded over two floors and connected by an internal staircase, HTFC is a hive of activity as current projects continue to develop and shape the region that lies beyond these walls. Near The Forks, Upper Fort Garry, a historical site being reclaimed from a Petro Canada station, a parking lot and a curling club, is to be re-imagined as a heritage park and interpretive centre. Also at The Forks, Giesbrecht is working on the Variety Heritage Adventure Park. Then there’s the Centennial Concert Hall’s Steinkopf Gardens, whose stepped courtyard is being re-interpreted to improve its accessibility. Still more regional jobs, like revitalizing Kenora’s waterfront, and planning work for northern communities such as York Factory First Nation will change how these communities use their resources. The firm is also engaged in preparing a management plan to protect the outstanding natural and cultural values of a 34,500-square-kilometer tract of boreal forest and waterways bridging the Manitoba and Ontario borders. Known as Pimachiowin Aki (the land that brings life) it has been nominated a World Heritage Site.

9 • SPRING 2011



Fledgling Montreal communications firm finds its niche supporting Quebec’s growing aerospace industry. By Yvan Marston ATLANTIC AVE., MONTREAL / - Regional and “It’s an industry that is absolutely fascinating and somewhat business jet sales may be temperamental and defence underserviced when it comes to communications and budgets tightening, but planes still have to fly and they marketing,” says Hébert, whose company Aerokom provides need parts to do that. Despite the a range of services, from writing headline grabbing attention of the and design to public relations and big makers like Bombardier and event management. The Canadian aerospace industry Boeing, much of Canada’s aerospace What began as a one-person employs more than 80,000 industry is comprised of parts and consultancy three years ago has now Canadians and since 1990, industry services firms. And it is growing. become a six-person shop servicing sales have more than doubled, “It’s an extremely specialized an industry that generates some reaching $23.6 billion in 2008. industry,” says Mélanie Hébert. $23 billion in annual revenues “One company, for example, through its global reach, according to – Source: Aerospace Industries distributes parts around the world the Aerospace Industries Association Association of Canada for one type of helicopter.” of Canada. Hébert has become something of a “What makes it so interesting specialist herself, using her masters in is that the client relationships are intercultural communications and her business background international – you have to know what is going on everyto provide marketing services to a handful of fast-growing where,” she says, adding that travel is no small part of the parts distributors. attraction she has to the industry. • 10

Une jeune agence de communication montréalaise trouve un créneau dans l’aérospatiale au Québec Si les ventes d’avions sont par nature incertaines et les budgets de défense en baisse, une chose est sûre : on ne peut se passer des avions et ils ont besoin de pièces détachées. « C’est une industrie extrêmement spécialisée », explique Mélanie Hébert. « Par exemple, c’est une seule entreprise qui distribue dans le monde les pièces d’un hélicoptère particulier.» Mélanie Hébert s’est elle-même spécialisée en mettant à profit sa maîtrise en communication interculturelle et son expérience en entreprise pour proposer des services de marketing – rédaction et conception, relations publiques, gestion d’événements – à certains distributeurs de pièces détachées en pleine croissance. Il y a trois ans, elle était seule dans son agence de conseil, qui compte aujourd’hui six personnes et s’emploie à servir une industrie générant, selon l’Association des industries aérospatiales du Canada, quelque 23 milliards de dollars de revenus annuels. C’est grâce à un emploi au gouvernement qu’elle s’est découvert un intérêt pour le conseil et qu’elle a donc créé Zone Interkom, une agence spécialisée dans le marketing destiné aux domaines de la conception industrielle, des ressources humaines (secteur technologique) et des agences gouvernementales. Par la suite, un de ses contrats l’a conduite à recréer le site Web de Rockland, une firme québécoise de logistique et de service dans le secteur de l’aérospatiale. C’est ainsi qu’est née Aerokom. L’année dernière, la fusion avec MHD a fait passer le nombre d’employés de 7 à 100 personnes, une équipe chargée de s’occuper entre autres de la flotte des Hercules C-130 de l’armée de l’air néo-zélandaise. « Le rôle d’Aerokom est aussi de mettre en place des réseaux de communication, par exemple par le biais de repas d’affaires ou de salons professionnels, le but étant de trouver le lieu adéquat et de donner les bons outils à nos clients », affirme Mélanie Hébert, qui a récemment participé à des missions commerciales en Haïti et au Mexique avec la Chambre de commerce de Québec. Plus de la moitié des 400 entreprises aérospatiales canadiennes étant installées au Québec, le siège social d’Aerokom, au 400 rue Atlantic à Montréal, est très bien situé pour élargir ses activités dans un secteur classé au cinquième rang mondial et considéré comme un des plus grands acteurs dans le domaine de recherche et développement au Canada.

11 • SPRING 2011


Prior to opening a retail art gallery/framing business in Montreal a few years before this endeavour, Hébert spent five years living and travelling throughout Europe, Asia, Australia, and Israel. But her retail operation was a little too stationary for the energetic blonde whose quick smile and affable manner made her a natural in the world of communications. A short stint of government employment sparked her interest in consulting and she formed Zone Interkom to work on marketing challenges for industrial design, tech human resources and government agencies. But one fateful job led to a web site redesign for Rockland, a Quebec-based aerospace logistics support and services firm, and Aerokom was born. A merger last year with MHD saw Rockland grow from seven people to over 100 with major contracts such as supporting the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s fleet of C-130 Hercules aircraft. “Aerokom’s role is also to establish channels for communication, whether that’s an embassy dinner or whether it is a trade show, it is about finding the right venues and giving clients the right tools,” say Hébert, who has taken part in trade missions to Haiti and Mexico with the Chambre de Commerce de Québec. With more than half of Canada’s 400 aerospace companies located in Quebec, Aerokom’s Montreal headquarters at 400 Atlantic are well situated to further serve an industry ranked fifth among its global peers and considered one of the largest contributors to Canadian R&D activities.

Photos: Aston Industries • 12



SOCIAL LIFE A former 1912 Tango cellar in Calgary is reanimated and reinvented into a ‘serious’ lunch spot, corporate bar and nightclub. By Yvan Marston

SIXTH AVE. SW, CALGARY / - One hundred years HISTORIC FABRIC Soldiers had threatened to demolish the after it opened as a dining and dancing hall, the lower establishment unless the German name was removed from the level space of the Lougheed building once again pulses electric sign outside. Before matters could escalate, the building with the rhythm of an energized Saturday night. superintendent cut the power to the lights and locked the door. Though the Cronns were not heard from again, the Under the oak corniced ceilings and atop the original name persisted for some years before the place became the terrazzo floors, as many as 350 patrons, ranging in age city’s first jazz club in the 1920s. Then it languished for a from 25 to 50, take in this underground scene. And time before the Loughheed building was restored in 1998. Witold Twardowski couldn’t be more pleased. Further work on Sociale’s space was completed for its recent “This is working the way we hoped. It’s a destination,” opening, but not without significant challenges. says the mind behind some of Calgary’s other destinations, including The Ranche, Cilantro, Teatro and Mescalero. “Mainly it was getting the infrastructure to work within the space without disturbing the historic fabric,” says Twardowski, “This” is Sociale Bar & Grille, and it is in fact a joint explaining that the electrical and ventilation all had to be effort that has Twardowski partnering brought up to modern standards. with Elizabeth Panonko and Eron Forseth to revitalize the space that the city once NEW MED CUISINE Interior firm knew as Cronn’s Rathskellar (German for Hribar Design wasn’t trying to “If you can get a lunch restaurant in the basement of a city hall), do 1911 when it conceptualized and more recently as the Penguin Pub crowd, happy hour, the space, he says, and while the below Monty’s Deli. dinner and then the late restored ceiling and floors offer an aura of days gone by, the night, you’re hitting it ‘HITTING ALL FOUR NOTES’ Now the three white marble bars, backlit 8,000-square-foot space, spread over two on all four notes” with frosted glass, work as light levels – a 1,200-square-foot tapas bar – Witold boxes to introduce a modern on the street level mezzanine and a 6,800Twardowski aesthetic into the mix. square-foot dining space for 140 down below – is finding its place as a ‘serious bar A D.J. upstairs usually features with serious food. Seriously,’ as Twardowski puts it. a conga or sax player and downstairs is a mix of danceable beats. As for food, chef Kenny Kaechle calls his menu new “If you can get a lunch crowd, happy hour, dinner and old world and sets about rethinking a Mediterranean style then the late night, you’re hitting it on all four notes,” of cuisine with entrees like a Chorizo crusted wild salmon, he says, explaining that he was attracted to the project BBQ pork flatbread, and tapas like beet and apple salad and the space because of its “juicy” background. and Merguez sausage and meatballs. When it opened in 1912, Cronn’s Rathskellar was “It’s a corporate bar, but not bar food. There’s no chicken known as a place to Tango, still something of a risqué wings and nachos here,” says Twardowski. dance at the time. It was a downtown hotspot that closed three years after opening when its German owners were forced out one dramatic night during World War I.

13 • SPRING 2011


GAMING ATTIC High atop a Quebec City neighbourhood sits a loft full of 80s retro gaming ideas and a team dedicated to bringing these concepts to life. Welcome to Berzerk Studio. By Yvan Marston

NOUVO ST-ROCH, QUEBEC CITY / - In the Internet’s multichannel universe, content creation is a good place to be. Just ask Simon Lachance and his cohorts who founded Berzerk Studio, a small independent game developer. Based in Quebec City’s technology hub in Nouvo St. Roch, Berzerk specializes in the creation of Flash games, that is, interactive media created for online and mobile devices using Adobe-owned Flash software. And in two years, the trio has become one of the top earning independent Flash gaming developers in the world.

ADDICTIVE AND FREE Easily accessible, often addictive and usually free, Flash games range from simple 2D puzzles to stylized 3D multi-player first-person shooters, and there are tens of thousands of them available with developers releasing new ones all the time. It takes Berzerk’s six-person team about three months to move a game from concept to completion. “But our record • 14

was three weeks,” adds Lachance who likens independent game development to being a musician. “You can make your own music, or you can be a studio musician,” he says, explaining that in Flash game development, revenues are derived usually in one of two ways. Either you develop a game you think people will want to play and then sell it to a gaming site that makes its money from ads, or you work for a client developing a game around a product as part of a viral marketing strategy. The latter is called ‘servicing’ and it is what Lachance, Etienne Jean and Marc-Antoine Jean (no relation) were doing before they founded Berzerk. “We preferred to make our own original stuff than to work for hire. We wanted to work without any limits or constraints,” says Lachance.

PLAYING THE MARKET Of course they have to design what the market demands, but having become a top-selling

BERZERK’S TOP 3 DOWNLOADED GAMES BERZERK BALL Wind up and smack a geek through Berzerk land to earn money and level up.

GUNBOT You’re a robot with a gun and a beetle for a sister. Find an artifact and blast everything that moves for points.

TRAP MASTER As the dungeon’s monster master, use your fireballs and fangs to keep the treasure hunters from the doom chest.

LE MONDE DU JEU Le Studio Berzerk : un loft de St-Roch qui déborde d’idées de jeux électroniques Parmi les multiples créneaux qu’offre l’univers d’Internet, celui de la création de contenu est un bon filon. Pour s’en convaincre, il suffit d’en parler à Simon Lachance et aux deux associés avec lesquels il a fondé Berzerk Studio, un petit créateur de jeux indépendant. Basée au sein du pôle technologique de Nouvo St-Roch à Québec, Berzerk se spécialise dans la création de jeux flash, média interactifs accessibles en ligne ou sur le réseau de téléphonie mobile et utilisant le logiciel Adobe Flash. En deux ans, cette équipe à trois têtes est devenue un des premiers développeurs de jeux flash indépendants au monde.

ADDICTIFS ET GRATUITS Facilement accessibles, souvent addictifs et gratuits, les jeux Flash sont divers et variés dans leur niveau de sophistication et ils sont surtout très nombreux : il en existe des dizaines de milliers et de nouveaux sont créés continuellement. Pour créer un jeu du début à la fin, les six personnes de l’équipe de Berzerk nécessitent environ trois mois. « Mais notre record est de trois semaines », explique Simon Lachance en ajoutant qu’il existe dans leur secteur deux manières de fonctionner. Soit on développe un jeu et on le vend à un site de jeux en ligne qui tire ses revenus d’annonces publicitaires, soit on travaille pour un client dans le but de créer un jeu autour d’un produit dans le cadre d’une stratégie de marketing viral. C’est cette deuxième option qui était la spécialité de Simon Lachance, Étienne Jean et Marc-Antoine Jean (pas de lien de parenté) avant qu’ils ne fondent Berzerk. « On a préféré développer nos propres créations originales plutôt que de travailler pour un client. On voulait travailler sans limites ni contraintes », affirme Simon Lachance.

UN MARCHÉ VRAIMENT MONDIAL Bien entendu, il faut créer des jeux en fonction des demandes du marché. Mais ça, l’équipe de Berzerk semble savoir le faire intuitivement. En moyenne les jeux Berzerk sont utilisés chacun de 8 à 12 millions fois. Ils sont également traduits en japonais, en espagnol et en russe. Forte de la popularité de ses créations, Berzerk vient de se lancer sur le marché de la téléphonie mobile. Elle propose d’ailleurs déjà une application iPhone. Prochaine étape : des jeux pour le marché mobile de Windows et Android qui pourraient éventuellement être importés sur des consoles de jeux comme la PS3 et l’Xbox.

15 • SPRING 2011


developer in a marketplace with 6,000 registered developers, they appear to have an intuitive understanding of what that is. On average, a Berzerk game gets played 8 to 12 million times and their wares have been translated into Japanese, Spanish and Russian. Indeed, it’s a global marketplace and from the confines of its cozy Quebec City studio, Berzerk can sell a single title some 20 times to clients it has never met. Most of the transactions work through a gaming industry site called Flashgame License, a marketplace where independent developers can meet buyers. With a solid reputation for developing games that attract attention, Berzerk is moving into the mobile marketplace having already developed an iPhone app. Building for the Android and Windows mobile market is next on the list, and they are trying to build their games so that they can ultimately be imported into gaming consoles like PS3 and Xbox, should the opportunity arise.



Known best for her jewel-encrusted bridal designs and ‘achievement’ rings, Toronto goldsmith Shelly Purdy combines whimsy and skill to bring authenticity to her work. By Yvan Marston

KING WEST CENTRAL, TORONTO / For a lot of people, a ring can be the start of something, but for Shelly Purdy, it’s the start of everything. To her, a precious metal band is blank canvas. “Most of my collections start with a ring. I love sculpting, carving this wax [form to make a ring] by hand,” she says from her Spadina studio with a enthusiasm that is hard to ignore. In 2007, this successful Toronto-based jewelry designer re-organized her small retail business into a one-woman enterprise when she found herself doing more administration and sales and less actual goldsmithing.

MORE PERSONABLE SERVICE Known mainly for her bridal designs and ‘achievement’ rings (stackable rings women buy themselves to mark life events), Purdy had a chance to re-assess how she was doing business and wanted to move forward pushing two agendas: one that saw her hone her craft and the other that saw her give more personable service. And you’ll find both on her Facebook page. Here, several images of her work and frequent posts have allowed her to connect with buyers from Israel, England, Switzerland and across Canada. And if you want to know how she made something, just ask her. She’s always online, and is prone to flights of fancy, like sending one customer updates on a ring project using a Spiderman action figurine as a prop. “I have a crazy brain. It was a late night,” she says, shaking her shoulder-length blond hair with a self-deprecating laugh. But the client loved it and the touch of personality that comes from working directly with this craftsperson gave the entire transaction authenticity. And authenticity is what Purdy is selling. She learned her craft at nearby George Brown College, graduating in 1987 and moving through a succession of apprenticeships over the next three years until she developed her own animal series that she sold to Birks. When the national jewelry chain folded only months later, she continued to sell to retailers eventually chosing to re-examine her business.

SECOND-STOREY RETAIL It was time to go at it alone. As a second-storey retailer, she began to make a name for herself as a talented designer of engagement rings and caught the eye of the nascent Canadian diamond industry. Until the 1990s, finding diamonds in Canada was just a notion. But when the Ekati diamond mine in the Northwest Territories opened the door, Purdy was among the designers courted to use its diamonds. Coincidentally, Purdy had been reading the non-fiction account of how the Ekati diamond find came to be. Before she could even finish the book, she found herself on a plane to tour the open pit mine. WHAT SUITS HER CLIENTS She worked with Ekati using Canadian diamonds in her collections for a long time, and while she stills uses mostly Canadian stones, she works with what best suits her client. Canada is now the third largest producer of diamonds in the world and with the infrastructure to process those stones in Ontario and the Northwest Territories, it has the capacity to rival diamond buying destinations like Belgium and Israel, according to Mining Weekly. With access to a larger market, Purdy sees herself in a position to further serve her clients. Trust she says, is a big issue when people are buying jewelry. There’s not a lot of markup on large diamond work, so the price is the price, she explains. “I’ll tell you the truth based on what I know because I want you to be awesomely pleased and to tell all your friends. That’s how I do business.”

Above: Shelly Purdy’s recently launched royal collection features engagement rings with crown settings inspired by tiaras; and for men, gold and sterling bands featuring regal lions or the monarchy's fleur de lys. Above right: Gothic letter cufflinks; and bull terrier rings from her early collection. • 16



Suivez le guide! Par Yvan Marston

AVENUE ATLANTIC, MONTRÉAL / - Exacto Communications, firme montréalaise spécialisée en marketing et en relations publiques, offre un vaste éventail d’expertises dans l’exécution de chacun de ses mandats. Cependant, son réel succès réside dans la qualité du service offert aux clients. Lorsque Benoît Allaire et sa sœur Marie-Josée ont embauché leur personnel pour leur nouvelle agence de communications intégrées à Montréal, ils étaient certains d’une chose : ils voulaient des serveurs! « Pas tout à fait, explique Marie-Josée, qui évolue dans l’industrie des relations publiques depuis plus de 15 ans. Que ce soit de l’expérience en restauration ou de n’importe quel autre type, c’est l’exercice de servir directement une personne qui donne de la valeur ajoutée. » Sur les 12 employés de la firme tous possèdent dans leur parcours professionnel de l’expérience dans l’industrie du service.

EXPEDITION MARKETING Pas facile la vie d’un spécialiste du marketing de nos jours admet Benoit Allaire. Les entreprises disposent plus que jamais de différents moyens pour faire passer leur message. Pour lui, Exacto devient en ce sens, une sorte de guide pour le client. « Toutefois pour que les gens suivent le guide, ils doivent lui faire totalement confiance, une confiance qui ne s’acquiert qu’en proposant une stratégie solide, une exécution parfaite et un service irréprochable », explique-t-il. Dix ans auparavant alors à l’emploi de Bombardier, Benoit • 18

brûlait d’impatience de retourner à ses anciennes amours : l’entreprenariat. Dans les années 90, il créa une entreprise de vêtements d’expédition, Paradox (vendue depuis). C’est là qu’il s’est découvert une passion, non pas pour le vêtement, mais pour la stratégie de marque et toutes les tactiques qui lui sont dédiées.

DUO FRÈRE ET SŒUR « Nos carrières se sont souvent entremêlées », explique Marie-Josée. Spécialisée en communication de produits de consommation, Marie-Josée a évolué au sein de plusieurs entreprises dont le Ritz-Carlton, le Conseil canadien de la fourrure et Edelman Relations publiques. Lorsque Benoit s’est lancé dans l’aventure Exacto, Marie-Josée est vite devenue sa référence en relations publiques. Par la force des choses, leur association leur a alors paru toute naturelle. C’est donc en 2004 qu’ils ont joint leurs forces respectives. « Ce que je voulais créer était une sorte de coffre à outils pour nos clients. Notre spécialité, c’est la stratégie. Donc, que nos clients viennent nous voir pour nos compétences Internet, événementielles ou graphiques ou pour nos services de relations publiques, ils auront de toute façon accès à la totalité de ces compétences », explique Benoit. Exacto, qui compte parmi ses clients Reebok, Permacon, Bombardier, Wines of Chile et Wines of South Africa, s’est vite sentie à l’étroit dans ses premiers bureaux du 6300 avenue du Parc. En novembre dernier, l’entreprise a emménagé dans des bureaux plus spacieux à la même adresse et au même étage.


GUIDE SERVICE At the heart of this Montreal marketing firms success lies a simple truth about the value of good service. When Benoit Allaire and his sister Marie-Josée were hiring staff for their new Montreal-based, full service communications agency, they were certain of one thing: they wanted waiters. Well not exactly, explains Marie-Josée. Tall, blue-eyed and blond, she has been plying the public relations trade for more than 15 years and knows all too well the value of responsive service. “It could be restaurant experience or whatever, it is the exercise of serving someone directly that holds tremendous learning value,” she says, adding that all 12 staffers at the seven-year-old strategic marketing and communications firm Exacto have some grassroots service experience in their work background.

EXPEDITION MARKETING Life is complicated for a marketer these days, says Benoit, there are more ways to move your message than ever before and he sees Exacto as a kind of guide. “But to get people to follow you, you need them to trust you, and trust comes from providing good strategy, flawless execution and excellent service,” he says. Ten years ago, Benoit sat behind a desk at Bombardier longing to get back to his entrepreneurial roots. In the 1990s he ran an expedition clothing company called Paradox (it was since sold) where he discovered a passion not for clothing design but for developing brand strategies and all the tactics that go with it. At that time, Marie-Josée was working for the Canadian fur council, Benoit’s company was sourcing wolverine fur to trim parka hoods because of its ability to shed frost. Following an expedition, she organized a press conference to raise the profile of her brother’s brand. Marie-Josée

BROTHER-SISTER TEAM “Our careers often intertwined,” says Marie-Josée whose experience includes work for Ritz-Carlton and for Edelman Montreal as a consumer brand specialist. When Benoit set out on his own again to form Exacto, he often sought his sister’s council. Working with her seemed a natural fit, so the two joined forces in 2004. “What I wanted to create was a sort of toolbox for clients. We are based on strategy. So whether you come to work with us for our web, event, print, or PR skills, you will essentially have access to that 360-degree thinking,” says Benoit.


Servicing clients like Reebok, Permacon, Bombardier, Wines of Chile and Wines of South Africa, Exacto quickly outgrew the space it had taken up at 6300 Ave du Parc and moved to larger quarters on the same floor with a complement of 10 staff in November last year. The growth, explains Marie-Josée, was a function of responding to client needs. “We wanted to stay true to our promise of service,” she says.

19 • SPRING 2011


BUILD YOUR OWN COLLABORATIVE Three businesses merge into one space to create a workplace By Yvan Marston RICHMOND STREET WEST, TORONTO / - What do two seasoned branding and design experts, two professional facilitation and project management consultants and an environmental transportation and logistics specialist all have in common? A need for space. “I think it’s the minority that can work in isolation,” says Annie Gaudreault, owner of BRIO Branding and Design. She was looking for office space two years ago when she settled at this Richmond Street West address. That’s where she and creative director Dori Burchat met sisters and business partners Tamara and Shawna Eberle of Traction Strategy, a six-year-old professional facilitation, project management and research firm specializing in strategic planning, market and community research and stakeholder consultation. Shortly after, Hilary Garner, a partner in a logistics business, joined the studio space when she was looking for an office closer to home. “It was interesting to see how many people wanted to share space,” recalls Tamara who had placed an ad on Craigslist as well as using postings around the downtown neighbourhood. But being a professional facilitator, she knew interviewing respondents would be just a step in what she and Shawna hoped would become a collaborative workspace. “Not collaborative in the sense that we work on projects together,” clarifies Tamara, who didn’t expect new business from an office mate. Rather, she and Shawna sought a good fit, that is, someone who had the same work style, similar values and with whom they could get along. And most importantly, someone from whom they could learn. More than a network, Tamara sees the collaborative as her home team. “The way we’ve chosen to work has made my business more successful. There’s no question,” she says.

6 STEPS TO BUILDING A COLLABORATIVE WORKPLACE 1. KNOW HOW YOU WORK. Before you start, be clear about what it is you do and what you need from the space.

2. KNOW HOW THEY WORK. “I wouldn’t focus on the type of business,” says Tamara. “It comes down to personality and the nature of their work. Do they work in a way that is compatible with your work?”

3. CREATE SECURITY. Build a ‘safe’ environment where everybody respects each other’s business and clients.

4. SHARE VALUES. Since this usually involves a small group, there has to be a level of personal compatibility.

5. BUILD RULES. Developing rules together gives everyone a level of control over the terms that will govern the space.

6. …AND REVIEW THEM. Do regular check ins where you can talk about how the space is working.


Send your company info, events and story ideas to Editor: Yvan Marston • Design: Gravity Design Inc.

Chronicle - Spring 2011  

The Allied Properties REIT Tenant Magazine

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