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Le magazine des locataires du Fonds de placement immobilier Allied Properties






UN GOÛT DE SUCCÈS L’histoire de Soupesoup à Montréal



10 Ubisoft à Québec : Cinq années de créativité

12 Montreal’s Motivo team launches Banner Pen

20 Prêt-à-porter : la mode est au changement chez Style et Transition

PLUS Marché des changes pour investisseurs amateurs • Toronto’s NKPR connects celebs, brands and good causes • Avant-ski: Totum’s Pre-season Workout


TORONTO/ - Entre les rues Queen et Richmond Ouest, à l’intersection avec la rue Peter, Allied Properties REIT est en train de développer un modèle d’intensification urbaine en modernisant un bâtiment historique et en prévoyant y annexer une nouvelle structure certifiée LEED niveau or, en attente de permis de construire. Ce projet, baptisé QRC (Queen Richmond Centre West) et imaginé par le cabinet d’architecture Sweeny, Sterling, Finlayson & Co Architects Inc., allie avec élégance présent, passé et futur dans un quartier de choix et réussit à mettre en valeur un bâtiment historique en réadaptant son espace pour offrir aux entreprises tournées vers l’avenir un lieu riche en caractère et en originalité. Depuis la rue Richmond, le hall d’entrée est grandiose avec son atrium de 70 pieds de haut. Par ailleurs, la vaste superficie du sol et son agencement efficace – avec un noyau de service reculé du centre – donneront aux entreprises une grande flexibilité pour aménager leurs bureaux. « Nous pensons depuis longtemps que le développement du 134 rue Peter serait un atout de taille pour le quartier ouest du centre-ville », explique Michael Emory, président et chef de la direction d’Allied. « Avec l’espace du 375-381 rue Queen Ouest, le projet sera un des concepts de développement urbain à usage mixte les mieux réussis de la ville. »

C’EST REPARTI POUR UN TOUR! Après le succès de l’an dernier, ce sont 32 personnes de l’équipe d’Allied Properties REIT à Toronto qui se sont mises en selle cette année sur le « Grand Vélo du Cœur » et qui ont sillonné le centre ville, saluées et encouragées par une foule de spectateurs et de collègues admiratifs. Le Grand Vélo du Cœur est l’une des initiatives de collecte de fonds organisées par la Fondation des maladies du cœur les plus populaires. Elle a lieu pendant les mois chauds dans plus de 200 collectivités et neuf provinces et permet de sensibiliser la population aux maladies cardio-vasculaires tout en amusant la galerie. Les chiffres de cette année ne sont pas encore disponibles mais l’année dernière le Grand Vélo a fait pédaler plus de 50 000 personnes et a permis de recueillir plus de 7 millions $ pour la recherche. Le montant de cette année se chiffre pour l’instant à 577,802 $ et le jour où nos cyclistes étaient en selle, quelque 52 376,45 $ ont été récoltés pour la cause!

A passion for photography develops into a love of teaching the craft By Micayla Jacobs

ST. LAWRENCE MARKET AREA, TORONTO / - It’s often said that if you love what you do it won’t feel like work. Few of us, however, are lucky enough to experience this first hand. Ana Belic, owner of GTA Photography Classes at 47 Colborne Street, is one of those lucky people – and she has made it her mission to bring joy and passion to even a small part of everyone’s day. But Belic hadn’t originally set out to teach photography. Granted, she had been a model student, taking photography throughout high school she demonstrated a keen eye and strong passion, but rather than pursue this avenue, she went down another road and became a chartered accountant. She says that her business background has been a huge asset in her change from accountant to professional photographer, and more importantly, photography school owner. Belic, who originally decided to start teaching classes as a profitable way to get back to her photography, discovered instead a new passion for teaching, which has now become her main focus. “There is nothing else like it,” she says of her new vocation. With students ranging from doctors and business executives to housewives and teenagers, Belic feels that everyone can benefit from being able to use the creative part of their brain and cultivate a hobby. And that is what sets GTA Photography Classes apart from other schools with a purely academic focus, that is, everyone is there purely for enjoyment, without the stress of getting marks and credits. With classes ranging from photography 101 to travel photography and even a new course on using Photoshop, there is a wide variety of learning available. The boutique-style classroom setting, complete with comfy couches, is decorated with student work and the classes themselves are never larger than ten students.

Belic says that for her, experience is key, which is why she is hoping to take things beyond the classroom as she begins to foster a photography community. Holding photography competitions twice a year culminating in a wine and cheese gallery showing for the students, creating an online forum in which the students can continue the discussion after the class is complete – it is all about “keeping them shooting and keeping them engaged,” she explains. And all of this with no membership fee. Once you take a class you are connected for as long as you want. With a central location near King Street East and Yonge and a variety of class times, GTA is focused on attracting budding photographers, but is also adding new sessions like walk-about tours of Toronto and other field trips to help build a dynamic community of shutterbugs.

3 EASY STEPS TO BETTER PICS 1. Place your subject off center. Move your subjects to another point in the frame and away from the center. This will give you more balanced and more interesting shots. 2. Change your angle. One of the best ways to get more creative and unique shots is to change the angle you are shooting from. Try shooting from below or from a side angle to really change the composition and make it more unique.


Allied Properties : un projet de développement écologique dans le quartier ouest du centre-ville de Toronto • 2



3. Fill your frame. Get in nice and close to your subject and remove some of the distractions in the background. Pay attention to what is behind your subject and make sure that you are framing your shot with a simple backdrop.

3 • FALL 2010

FOREIGN EXCHANGE INVESTING 101 4 steps to getting started... 1. GET UP TO SPEED ON THE FOREX MARKET. There is a wealth of information available on trading in the foreign exchange market. Familiarize yourself with the industry – especially fundamental analysis, technical analysis and trader psychology.

2. CHOOSE A BROKER THAT IS RIGHT FOR YOU. Do your research and find an established broker that offers low spreads, no commissions, a platform with all the tools you need, and added value services such as news and education. The Internet is full of sites that offer broker reviews so you can see what traders are saying about them before you make your first deposit.

3. PRACTICE WITH A DEMONSTRATION ACCOUNT. Most brokers will offer a free, two-week demonstration service to allow you to get comfortable with their platform and learn how to trade risk-free.

4. LEARN, LEARN, LEARN. The forex market is constantly evolving and there are always opportunities to make money. Interested in learning more? Tenants of Allied Properties REIT are eligible for a free one-month subscription to AroundFX services. Contact • 4

By Yvan Marston

BLVD. ST. LAURENT, MONTREAL / - While foreign exchange trading used to be the exclusive domain of multi-nationals buying and selling currency on the open market, small investors are starting to see the value of building a position in this rewarding yet risky investment arena. But to be successful, you need information, and that’s where AroundFX comes. “It’s about understanding news to make money,” explains Paula Midena, director of the one-year-old investor news service whose team of four operates out of Montreal’s 3575 St. Laurent Blvd. “Our goal is basically to help home traders learn the importance of economic events and how to make money off them,” she says. Working with an analyst, two financial journalists and multiple streams of 24-hour news sources, AroundFX produces seven reports a day (the first is released at 7:30 a.m. to inform traders on the previous night’s European and Asian market activity), as well as 30 to 50 briefs describing up-to-the-minute news and its relevance to the foreign exchange market. Observing a calendar of economic indicators, AroundFX also provides educational resources to its audience before the release of something like the Non-Farm Payroll, for example. This monthly account of job growth in the U.S. is used to determine the current state of the economy and predict future levels of economic activity. And it has a tremendous effect on currency markets. “It’s a huge event for foreign exchange traders because markets will move on these numbers,” says Midena. The day before the figures are released, the team at AroundFX, most of whom worked together at a now defunct wire service akin to Bloomberg or Reuters, prepares traders for this event with webinars examining the current market pricing and looking at how different scenarios might play out. Aimed at an audience that is less technical than institutional traders, many of the resources examine fundamentals like, what is non-farm and how does it affect the markets? And then of course there is the event coverage as well as ‘post-game’ analysis. While AroundFX’s audience is the day trader, its clients are the brokerage firms these traders work through. “It’s a value added service,” says Midena of the news feed her firm provides. With all the competition for trading dollars, brokerage firms are looking to attract clients with extra services like news feed tailored to their client’s level of understanding. “If you don’t know how an event affects currency trading – then it is information that doesn’t have any use to you as a trader,” adds Midena. AroundFx’s audience features a large cross section of users – from students learning the market to retirees seeking to cushion their nest egg. Traders can start with as little as $100 but Medina advises that since money is made on trades as events happen, anyone interested in foreign exchange trading is best treating it like a business. “Whatever time you would put into a side business, you should put into this,” she says.

Service d’information spécialiste du marché des changes BOUL. ST-LAURENT, MONTRÉAL / - Alors que seules les multinationales achetaient et vendaient des devises sur le marché des changes, il s’avère que les petits épargnants commencent maintenant à s’intéresser à ces possibilités d’investissement, qui certes peuvent rapporter gros mais sont aussi risquées. La clé pour réussir sur ce marché, c’est de s’informer et c’est là qu’intervient AroundFX. « Il s’agit de comprendre l’actualité pour gagner de l’argent », explique Paula Midena, directrice de ce service d’information pour les investisseurs, créé il y a un an et dont l’équipe est installée au 3575 boulevard St-Laurent à Montréal. « Notre but est simplement d’aider les négociateurs amateurs à comprendre l’importance des événements économiques et à les utiliser pour en tirer bénéfice », poursuit-elle. Grâce à une équipe composée d’un analyste et de deux journalistes financiers et à de multiples flux d’information en continu 24 h sur 24, AroundFX produit chaque jour sept rapports (le premier publié dès 7 h 30 pour informer les négociateurs des événements de la nuit sur les marchés asiatiques et européens) ainsi que 30 à 50 fiches d’information qui relatent les nouvelles en direct en expliquant leurs conséquences sur le marché des changes.

5 • AUTOMNE 2010



Foreign exchange news service aims its feed at the growing cadre of home traders working this investment arena

Photos: Ryan Priest

– Curtis Priest

Toronto web agency Pixelcarve weighs in on creating content and looks to set the record straight on some of the more prevalent myths about Flash. By Yvan Marston

Jeremy Choi, Ryan Priest and Curtis Priest in the lobby of their Spadina Avenue offices.

KING WEST CENTRAL, TORONTO / -“Look at this. ‘Can’t use the back button. Can’t index it on Google. Can’t manage the content. Can’t cut and paste out of it...” Ryan Priest’s voice trails off, irritated by the blog he’s quoting that chronicles the supposed failings of Flash web software. “But all that has been fixed,” he says. The post is recent, but the blogger’s information is outdated. In partnership with his cousin Curtis Priest and colleague Jeremy Choi, Ryan is part of a trio that forms the executive of boutique web agency Pixelcarve. From its 2,000-square-foot loft space at King and Spadina, the trio and its team create premium web sites and online ad campaigns for high end brands like interior designers Yabu Pushelberg, Avenue Road furniture, Sine NY clothing and Paramount Home Entertainment, and they do it using mainly Flash, a browser-based multimedia platform that adds animation, video and a fluid type of interactivity to a web page. “HTML is great for information-based sites,” explains Choi, the firm’s COO, “but if you want to build a brand experience, you use Flash.” “That’s what we focus on: Helping brands to look good • 6

online,” he adds. Given the creative possibilities offered by Flash, the office must at times double as a photo studio where the team shoots stills and video to help bring their site concepts to life. But Flash has been battling a misinformation campaign, in part due to Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ April announcement that iTouch, iPad and iPhone browsers would not support Flash-based web content – this despite the fact that Flash is used on close to 85% of all web sites, many of which are built entirely in it. “It essentially amounts to a war between Apple and Adobe [makers of Flash], says Curtis, the firm’s president, adding that since Pixelcarve is keenly interested in new media technologies, especially the use of rich media, “We have a stake in the outcome of this war.” And whether that proves a challenge or an opportunity is a matter of perspective. Twelve years ago, Curtis and Ryan Priest saw another sea-change in the web. The two-dimensional, HTML-based experience that web sites were offering was going to give way to a richer, more graphically immersive experience. And they wanted to be a part of that change.

TOP: Building content for a pilot digital menu board project for Harvey’s Restaurants (Cara Foods) put Pixelcarve in the ‘visual experience’ business. Other work includes the creation of premium websites for brands like Luxe Destination Weddings (MIDDLE) and Gillette Fusion Proglide (ABOVE). 7 • FALL 2010



“We wanted to work with clients that asked: How can you change my company by creating an online experience?”

“I went to school for 3-D, so I wanted to incorporate more 3-D graphical elements into the web,” says Ryan, the chief creative officer, “and with Curtis’s web site building and video production skills and my 3-D skills that’s where we wanted to start changing how people perceived the web.” As Curtis was starting his web consulting business, Ryan was working for a Bay Street law firm that needed a web site designed. It was the first job completed by the partnership and led to another law firm site – but this time they were given more creative latitude. They pitched a site featuring animated elevator doors opening to a virtual lobby where users could browse graphic elements to find information on the firm. When it was complete, the site garnered a lot of attention from Toronto’s legal community and sealed Pixelcarve’s reputation as an innovative web design firm. “In the beginning we just followed the money,” says Curtis, explaining that they started out working mostly for companies that saw web sites as a necessary marketing cost. “But we wanted to work with clients that asked: How can you change my company by creating an online experience? Companies that understood that if their virtual storefront was beautiful, unique and elicited an emotional response then it becomes a business tool that will attract and retain their target clients,” he says, adding that this perspective moved the company from two guys working in their respective suburban basements to becoming a downtown supplier to large ad agencies and recognized international brands. Well, that, and the capital from a lucrative contract creating interactive training systems for Harvey’s and Swiss Chalet restaurants across Canada for Cara Foods, as well as content for a pilot digital menu board project. Working for Sweda, the technology firm that invented the electronic cash register, Pixelcarve created the visual experience that would become the content for the menu boards. Whether on a media board, a computer screen or a mobile device, the idea for the content and how it will work is part of the production savvy the trio brings to each of its client projects. And regardless of how good it may look and feel, they are always careful to ensure it functions as it should: easy to search for and easy to navigate. That’s in part how Choi came to join the team. In 2008, he found himself subcontracting Flash work to Pixelcarve and the latter subcontracting HTML, search engine optimization and mobile component work to Choi’s firm. Acquiring Choi’s team and technologies, and making him an equal partner simplified things. Now, mobile is demanding a lot of attention as the trio works to sort out the limits of small screens and lack of standardization. “The future is definitely about mobile right now,” opines Choi, “but that doesn’t mean the web is dying. Mobile is just another way to view the Internet.” “It’s all about inspiring people to interact with the content so that something interesting happens on screen,” adds Ryan. “Then they engage with the brand and it creates a memorable and positive experience.”



TOP TO BOTTOM: youCUBE, a condo experiment in density and affordability designed for the north end of Winnipeg’s Waterfront Drive; A courtyard concept at Centre Village in the city’s Central Park neighbourhood; Performers on the recently completed Old Market Square stage; BGBX aims to transform a vacant lot in the city’s West End into a 24-unit housing development.

Working from one big desk to re-imagine urban housing, this Winnipeg architecture firm brings a less hierarchical approach to building design. By Yvan Marston

EXCHANGE DISTRICT, WINNIPEG / - Performers in aluminum plates used to form its curtains interplay with the park may have been a little confused by the stage they light projections (eventually, the lights will be connected to stepped onto this summer in Winnipeg’s Exchange District. motion sensors allowing passersby to influence the changes). Most bandstands open up to the space around them, but this The process and the project speak to the duo’s interest in a chain-mail enshrouded concrete cube has only one open face less hierarchical approach to building design. and a personality that shifts and changes depending on how you look at it and in what light. CRITICAL AND COLLABORATIVE Hurme and Radulovic are keenly interested in what But in truth, the stage wasn’t built a more critical and collaborative approach to exclusively for performers. “We are trying to architecture can yield in a city known for its “It’s about trying to find the right conservative design tastes and tight budgets. design for people to live balance between it as performance With a portfolio currently dominated by space and the rest of the year when in a little less space.” residential work, 5468796 Architecture it would otherwise sit empty,” says – Johanna Hurme is distinguishing itself with projects like Johanna Hurme, a resident of the BGBX, a 24-unit housing development for area whose architectural firm won the Winnipeg’s West End with alternating competition to design the stage, which two- and three-storey residential loft units and small scale has just completed its first season hosting Jazz Winnipeg, commercial flex spaces at grade. the Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival as well as serving as a welcoming weekday lunch spot for office workers. While ostensibly a white corrugated metal box at the intersection of Wall Street and St. Matthews Avenue, it is sliced INTERPLAY WITH LIGHT PROJECTIONS Indeed, summers strategically at six points to reveal unexpected glimpses of are short in Winnipeg, and 5468796 Architecture Inc., the lush, green foliage at the block’s centre. firm Hurme started three years ago with fellow architect “The large courtyard can create interaction with neighbours Sasa Radulovic, expects the structure to continue performing and contribute to safety,” says Hurme. through the rest of the year’s long nights as the angled • 8

EXPERIMENT IN DENSITY AND AFFORDABILITY Also under construction is Centre Village a 25-unit housing co-op located on a small infill lot in the city’s Central Park neighbourhood. Here, the project strives to create a true community, or “housing village” with modest means. An experiment in density and affordability, it speaks to 5468796’s approach to sustainability, not with technical components but with a design that makes every square inch count. “We are trying to design for people to live in a little less space,” says Hurme. The firm’s economy of space can be seen in its office, where a single large work surface dominates the 2,400 square foot space on the ground floor of 266 McDermot Ave. and everyone works from it. A continuous curtain track allows the team to enclose the space converting it to a meeting room. And while the principals outweigh the rest of the team in terms of experience, they look to their staff as well as peers for critical thinking. “This way our work will be better – we don’t want to become stagnant,” says Hurme, a native of Finland who initially came to Winnipeg on a high school exchange and made her way back to attend the University of Manitoba where she completed her architecture degree. She’s reaching out to the city’s architecture firms to create more collaboration – hoping to eventually build a monthly project review board where multiple firms can meet and discuss improvements to ongoing projects. “Because every project is what you make of it. It doesn’t matter where it is located, as long as it is something that asks us to use our imagination,” she says. 9 • FALL 2010

Ubisoft Quebec FIVE YEARS OF CREATIVITY AND A FUTURE FULL OF PROJECTS Ubisoft’s Quebec City studio had some celebrating to do this June as the video gaming giant marked its fifth anniversary at this location, taking time to acknowledge the contribution of its 255 employees, the development of a dozen projects that have changed the world of video games, as well as the studio’s economic impact to the city, estimated at over $280 million.* The latest from this studio, Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands, is already a huge hit with critics, as is Combat of Giants, another original creation from this locale.

Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands, the latest gaming success to come from this studio.

Over five years, the company invested some $ 77 million in the Quebec City studio, and the economic impact due to the presence of Ubisoft here amounts to more than $280 million. “To our great satisfaction, the studio performs well, both within the Ubisoft group and from a public perspective, and our projects have an international reputation,” said vice president and general manager of Ubisoft Quebec, Nicolas Rioux, at the festivities earlier this summer, adding that: “In five years, we have achieved a level of maturity that promises a very bright future for this studio.”

Ubisoft à Québec – Cinq années de créativité et un avenir plein de projets NOUVO ST. ROCH, QUÉBEC / - Cet été, Ubisoft a célébré ses cinq ans à Québec, un moment propice pour souligner l’apport de ses 255 créateurs, la réalisation locale d’une douzaine de projets d’envergure qui ont marqué l’univers du jeu vidéo, ainsi que des investissements qui, prévoit-on, généreront des retombées économiques de plus de 280 millions de dollars* à Québec. “Nous sommes très fiers d’avoir choisi Québec. Les objectifs d’embauche que nous avions sur cinq ans ont été réalisés après un peu plus de deux ans. Nous avons une équipe créative et soudée qui fait notre succès", a déclaré M. Nicolas Rioux, vice-président et directeur général d’Ubisoft Québec, en point de presse. Une équipe créative, c’est le cas de le dire! Le dernier-né d’Ubisoft Québec, Prince of Persia : The Forgotten Sands, connaît déjà un vif succès auprès des critiques, sans oublier Combat of Giants, une autre création originale qui fait la fierté de l’entreprise. “Ubisoft Québec est devenu un studio qui assure la direction de créations authentiques et qui développe des licences ici, à Québec”, souligne M. Rioux.

DES RETOMBÉES ÉCONOMIQUES MAJEURES Sans contredit, Ubisoft Québec a de quoi fêter. Après cinq ans seulement, 77 millions $ ont été investis à Québec. L’impact économique attribuable à la présence d’Ubisoft à Québec s’élève donc à plus de 280 millions $ en retombées. “À notre grande satisfaction, le studio performe, tant au sein du groupe Ubisoft qu’auprès du public, et nos projets jouissent d’une reconnaissance internationale. Nous avons atteint en cinq ans un seuil de maturité qui promet un brillant avenir pour le studio”, précise Nicolas Rioux. • 10

Indeed, not only are designers working on new games created from scratch in Quebec, they are also collaborating with Montreal's Ubisoft studio on the next Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood. As well, the Quebec City studio is expanding, taking over the fourth floor of 390 Charest Blvd Est.

Le développement d’Ubisoft Québec est loin de s’arrêter là. Non seulement les créateurs planchent sur de nouveaux jeux créés de toutes pièces à Québec, ils collaborent également avec le studio d’Ubisoft Montréal sur le prochain opus d’Assassin’s Creed : Brotherhood. Ubisoft Québec prend aussi de l’expansion par l’acquisition d’un quatrième étage dans l’édifice Ubisoft, situé à l’angle du boulevard Charest et de la rue de la Couronne. “Cette expansion nous permettra d’offrir un meilleur univers de création à nos employés. Ce nouvel espace nous permettra aussi de développer notre laboratoire de jeux dans lequel nous testerons nos créations auprès du public”, précise M. Rioux.

UNE SOIRÉE VIP Rappelons qu’il y a cinq ans, seulement 150 personnes travaillaient dans l’industrie du jeu vidéo à Québec. Aujourd’hui, on y recense plus de 1000 créateurs. “Nous sommes très heureux d’avoir participé activement au développement de la technoculture dans le quartier Saint-Roch, à Québec. Nous croyons depuis longtemps au développement de l’industrie dans la région et nous la soutenons au travers des initiatives tel notre partenariat avec l’École nationale de divertissement interactif (ENDI)”, poursuit M. Rioux, qui a récemment été nommé président du conseil d’administration de l’École. Grâce à son rayonnement, Ubisoft Québec compte dans ses rangs des créateurs de partout, de l’extérieur du Québec comme de l’étranger. “C’est une belle fierté pour une entreprise implantée à Québec de susciter un intérêt pour la Ville auprès d’une main-d’œuvre qualifiée prête à s’y établir”, précise Nicolas Rioux.

“This expansion will provide a better creative space for our employees. It will also allow us to develop our games lab where we test our games with the public,” explained Rioux. Only five years ago there were fewer than 150 people worked in the video game industry in Quebec. Today there are more than 1,000 designers. “We are very pleased to have actively participated in the development of Saint-Roch’s techno-culture. We have long believed in the development of this industry in the region and we support such initiatives through our partnership with National School of Interactive Entertainment (ENDI),” added Rioux, who was recently appointed chairman of the school’s board. * based on the model adapted by the ISQ HEC Montréal.

PARTY TIME: Radio Radio performs at Ubisoft Quebec’s five-year anniversary party earlier this summer.

* calcul basé sur le modèle de l’ISQ adapté par HEC Montréal.

11 • AUTOMNE 2010


TOP TO BOTTOM: Ubisoft’s Quebec City studio; Combat of Giants: Mutant Insects for Nintendo DS; and, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood.


BANNER PEN : le plus grand fournisseur de stylos bannières dans le monde Luigi Vendittelli ne peut s’en empêcher : si c’est malin, portable, facile à produire en masse et que ça provoque un sourire, il faut qu’il le distribue. Lorsqu’il découvrit en Chine le stylo bannière, avec sa banderole rétractable de deux pouces sur huit, il n’a pas pu résister à ce petit gadget, aujourd’hui fabriqué par son entreprise Banner Pen. « Ce type d’objet existait déjà depuis 25 ans mais n’avait jamais été commercialisé ni fabriqué correctement », explique Luigi Vendittelli installé depuis peu dans de nouveaux bureaux au 6300 avenue du Parc. En améliorant la conception et donc la qualité du stylo et en le fabriquant en plastique de maïs, Banner Pen est devenu le plus grand fournisseur de stylos bannières dans le monde et le seul fabricant d’une version réellement biodégradable.

Of all the novelty items to cross his desk in the last seven years, Montreal distributor sees the big picture with BannerPen. By Yvan Marston

AVE DU PARC, MONTREAL / - Luigi Vendittelli just can’t seem to help it. If it is clever, portable, easy to mass produce and generally makes people smile, he wants to distribute it. The banner pen, his company’s namesake item, was just such an object when his partner in China first showed him this writing tool with a retractable two-by-eight-inch banner. “This type of pen had been around for 25 years but it was never marketed well and frankly, it was never made well,” says Vendittelli from his new office space at 6300 Avenue du Parc. Re-engineering the pen to a higher production standard and sorting out how to build a corn plastic version has helped to make Banner Pen the largest supplier of these pens in the world and the only producer of a truly biodegradable version. And while sub licensing agreements with sports franchises as well as other agreements with the Toronto and Montreal transit systems have helped to create game schedules and transit map content for the retail versions of these pens, Vendittelli sees the banners as a powerful ad medium and is building a network throughout North America’s hotel chains. The concept is simple: Banner Pen creates custom pens for its hotel clients for free while securing the rights to sell the advertising space on the banners – typically in conjunction with in-room directories. “Hotels have never seen this product so they are responding positively,” he says, adding that in-room directory firms see it as a complementary item and are glad to work with him. While BannerPen was incorporated only two years ago, the product has been in development for the last five and Vendittelli has been a player in the promotional gift industry for at least seven. • 12

Despite the money he has invested in R&D, he’s not worried about a patent. “Having a patent on the product at this point doesn’t matter – it’s how I apply the product in the market that matters. I would rather spend the time and money protecting the network I’m building in the hospitality industry,” says Vendittelli whose fledgling network is already consuming just over 1 million pens a year. Leaning back into his office chair, he crosses a sneakered foot over his knee and glances occasionally at the vibrating Blackberry on the desk as he waits for a container of head massagers to arrive any minute. The wire whisk-looking contraptions are part of the company’s broader promotional gift side, which grew out of Motivo, a gift and novelty item store in Montreal’s Little Italy that he co-founded with his sister Veronica in 2003. “At Motivo, customers were saying: I like this, but can I get 1,000 of these. So we started to look beyond retail to see the potential in the promotional gift industry,” says Vendittelli. Indeed, an office store room reveals a cache of goofy, whimsical inventions. Witness the message bean – water it and it will grow into a plant bearing whatever you have microprinted onto its shell, an LED faucet aerator that beams red light into the water when it’s hot, and blue when it’s cold; a rubber cactus that is a pen; a chocolate scented note pad; a hamburger phone as well as more pragmatic objects like re-useable shopping bags. “We will always have other promotional items and that will bring in revenue,” he says of his first love, “but I don’t see it having the lifespan of an advertising division based in the hospitality industry.”

L’entreprise bénéficie déjà de contrats de licence avec des clubs de sports et avec les commissions de transport de Montréal et de Toronto qui lui ont permis de créer pour le grand public des stylos recélant des plans de bus et de métro ou des calendriers avec les dates de matchs. Mais Luigi Vendittelli, qui considère que ses stylos bannières sont un formidable support publicitaire pour les entreprises, s’emploie en priorité à élargir son réseau de clients parmi les grandes chaînes hôtelières nord-américaines. D’ailleurs, celles-ci sont déjà grandes consommatrices avec un peu plus d’un million de stylos par an. Appuyé au dossier de son fauteuil de bureau, Luigi Vendittelli croise ses jambes en gardant un œil sur le Blackberry qui vibre de temps à autre sur son bureau. Il attend à tout moment la livraison d’appareils de massage pour la tête. Ces accessoires, qui ressemblent à de gros fouets de cuisine, font partie de la gamme plus large d’articles promotionnels venus de Motivo, le magasin de gadgets et d’objets cadeaux situé dans la Petite Italie de Montréal ouvert par Luigi Vendittelli et sa sœur Veronica en 2003. « Chez Motivo, les clients nous disaient souvent : ça nous plaît mais il nous en faudrait 1 000 exemplaires. Nous nous sommes donc tournés vers le marché des articles promotionnels », explique Luigi Vendittelli avant de conclure : « Nous proposerons toujours d’autres articles promotionnels, ce qui générera des revenus, mais ils n’auront pas la durée de vie d’un support publicitaire destiné à l’hôtellerie. »

“At Motivo, customers were saying: I like this, but can I get 1,000 of these. So we started to look beyond retail to see the potential in the promotional gift industry.” – Luigi Vendittelli

RIGHT: The message bean – water it and it will grow into whatever has been microprinted on its shell; (FAR RIGHT) Montreal novelty store Motivo opened in 2003 by Vendittelli and his sister Veronica.

13 • FALL 2010

CELEBRITY MATCHMAKER In the world of media impressions, NKPR seeks to create authentic connections between people, brands, celebrities and social causes. By Yvan Marston

Koifman sees cause marketing as a strong part of her company NKPR’s roster. • 14

ADELAIDE STREET WEST, TORONTO / - When Natasha Koifman proposed a red carpet event at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival that would feature celebrities dipping their feet in paint for a good cause, her media contacts were skeptical. But the Artists for Peace and Justice Gala last September at the Winsor Arms Hotel was a hit with over a dozen celebrities, the likes of Colin Farrell, Kim Cattrall, Olivia Wilde and Peter Gallagher, doffing their footwear to leave their red and blue tracks on the ‘carpet’ (actually a tarp) – a concept by New York artist Peter Tunney. “We hoped we could get a few to do it, but everybody was onboard,” recalls Koifman of the event that launched APJ, a charity that writer/director Paul Haggis founded to help raise funds for schools and hospitals in Haiti’s slums. Getting celebs to a party is one thing, but getting them to put paint on their feet demands an authentic connection to the cause (and a relatively obscure one at that as this was before the earthquake). Indeed, some of the celebrities there had visited Haiti’s slums with Haggis to become deeply committed to APJ. And that kind of commitment is contagious. It’s no secret that the business of public relations is about connections, but the art of the craft is about making the right connections. Koifman wasn’t connecting with an accounting software project one day eight years ago when she walked away from a staff job building the PR department of a Toronto marketing firm. Instead, she went out on her own to work only with brands she loved. “If the business grows because of my passion for one of these things or if it stays the same, that’s fine. I didn’t start this because I wanted a huge company. I started it because

I wanted to work on projects that I’m excited about,” says function as a private tradeshow for celebrities with a dozen Koifman, an energetic brunette with an easy smile, speaking brands looking to have their products photographed from her office in renovated retail space on Adelaide alongside famous faces. Street West. “That first year, Tim Robbins came in wearing Timberland This September, during the Toronto International Film shoes and went right to their booth to talk to them. Success Festival, her firm, NKPR, marked its fifth year hosting to that client was making that authentic connection,” says the popular IT Lounge where she connects companies, Koifman. celebrities and social causes. Of course, an on-site Splitting her time between her photographer was there to capture 25-person shop here and a small office the moment, and the adjacent in New York, Koifman and her team media lounge is not immune to the “These are stories that service brands such as Fila, Kiehl’s, Ford hubbub of celebrity presence, so resonate with the media Models, RW&Co, and Timberland, in the end media impressions and but are equally dedicated to Artists for word-of-mouth marketing boost and therefore get out to the Peace and Justice (Koifman is on the the brand, along with the profile of general public – and that’s advisory board) and Camp Oochigeas. the social cause NKPR has brought what this job is all about.” to the event. She believes that for PR to be “Success for us as an agency successful you have to connect with – Natasha Koifman includes raising the profile of a what you are promoting, and estimates charitable brand,” adds Koifman. this approach has probably caused her to turn down as much business as she From its open concept space takes on. one block north of TIFF’s new Bell “But the brands we do take on, we love,” she says, adding Lightbox headquarters, NKPR is looking to host more events in that it is perhaps one reason she has a lot of long-term clients its office-cum-event space design, as well as develop an in-house and a very low staff turnover (6% in an industry that can digital media offering and a talent management arm. see 10 to 20 %). But cause marketing will remain a strong part of the NKPR The IT Lounge is one of the firm’s best known projects roster, perhaps because it offers a very complete and genuine and a solid example of brand connections. Five years ago opportunity for connections. Timberland (still a client) asked NKPR to get their product “And these are stories that truly resonate with the media into the hands of celebrities. and therefore get out to the general public – and that’s what this job is all about.” Not to be confused with seeking endorsements, which involves payment, the IT Lounge’s purpose is simply to

15 • FALL 2010


LEFT TO RIGHT: Ricky Gervais, Edward Norton and Tim Robbins at the Toronto International Film Festival’s IT Lounge last year. LEFT: Colin Farrell and Paul Haggis at TIFF 2009’s Artists for Peace and Justice Gala ‘red carpet’ event.

IN PRAISE OF THE BRAISE As fall marks a return to comfort food, Toronto’s Calphalon Culinary Center looks to slow cooking for rich, flavourful one-pot wonders. With farmer’s markets still offering up an abundance of fresh produce and the weather turning to chill, give some thought to the slow, deliberate art of braising. Sure it can be a bit of work up front, but it’s economical, makes enough for several meals, and if you’re hosting, it’s an easy one-pot dish that gives you more time with your guests than in your kitchen. “Braising, where you pan sear a cut of meat and then slow cook it in a flavoured liquid, is being more celebrated recently with that philosophy of ‘nose to tail’ consumption,” says Susie Reading, Executive Chef at the Calphalon Culinary Center. “Appreciating the whole animal, instead of just the prime cuts,” she explains. Getting away from those prime cuts not only makes this an economical way to cuisine, it’s also a tasty one as the process requires hours of stewing in a flavourful broth of wine, herbs and vegetables.

SLOW GENTLE COOKING IN 10 EASY STEPS 1. Select a protein that is a ‘working’ muscle, i.e. not a tender cut. On the bone is even better. 2. Preheat the oven to moderate heat – approximately 325F. 3. On top of the stove, preheat a Dutch Oven, add fat and sear seasoned meats. Pour off excess fat. 4. Deglaze with flavoured liquid, usually wine, to release the ‘fond’ or flavoured bits from bottom of pan. 5. Add a second flavoured liquid, usually a flavourful stock of that same protein, filling half to three quarters up the meat. 6. Add flavouring agents such as bay leaves, herb stems, spice bag of peppercorns. 7. Cover and place in the preheated oven. 8. Halfway through cooking process, add dense vegetables like carrots and potatoes. 9. Cook until all is tender and flavours are robust and intense. 10. The braising liquid is served with the rest of dish as it is integral to the finished dish.

WHAT TO BRAISE Some good cuts of meat for braising include: • Top Blade Roast • Seven Bone Roast • Brisket • Short Ribs

• Chuck Eye Roast • Ribs • Shanks • 16

RECIPE Osso Buco with Gremolata Preparation Time: 2 hours, 20 minutes Makes: 4 servings Ingredients: • 2 tbsp. olive oil • 4 lbs. 1 1/2 -inch-thick veal shanks • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour • 1 onion, finely diced • 2 garlic cloves, minced

• 14 oz. tin plum tomatoes • 1-2 cups chicken or veal stock • 1/2 cup dry red wine • 2 tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped

Gremolata: (traditional topping for osso bucco) • 2 tbsp. freshly • 1 tsp. grated lemon zest chopped parsley • 1/2 tsp. cracked • 2 garlic cloves, minced black pepper

TURN WITHOUT THE BURN Whether you’re skiing or snowboarding there’s generally one thing standing between you and a good day on the slopes: Your burning quads. Most of us mortals only get to ski a few months every year and even then, only a few times so we don’t build up the sport-specific endurance needed on the hill. To avoid injury and misery as you end your riding day pushing another turn through a sun-softened run, train your muscles before the snow flies.

Totum’s Carla Nanka-Bruce is a specialist in sport conditioning and an avid snowboarder who adds a handful of slope-savvy exercises to her regular workout come fall. “Starting with a general level of cardiovascular fitness is important,” she says, “but it’s good to bring into your routine exercises that are relevant to the endurance, stability and strength demands of skiing or snowboarding.”


Get ready for the slopes by adding these strength and endurance exercises from King Street West’s Totum Life Science to your workout.

Featured Cook Ware: Calphalon 5 Qt Dutch Oven wth Lid

For improved balance, core stability and quad endurance try the BOSU QUICK DROPS, which are essentially dynamic squats done over a ‘blue half-ball’.

Preheat Oven: 325F

1. Start with your chest up, shoulders set, spine neutral, and knees slightly bent.

Method: 1. Heat oil in dutch oven over medium-high heat.

2. Pop up slightly. 3. Land letting yourself drop into a squat, flexing your knees, ankles and hips at the same time. Don’t let your shoulders lower faster than your hips i.e. maintain shoulders positioned above or slightly behind knees throughout the movement.

2. Season shanks with salt and pepper, and dredge in the flour shaking off the excess. Add to pan and sear until deep golden brown, turning once, for about 8 minutes. Transfer shanks to bowl. 3. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add onion and garlic and sauté until tender, 4 - 6 minutes, adding more oil to pan if need be. 4. Deglaze the onions with the wine and reduce by half. 5. Return shanks and any liquid from bowl to skillet. Add tomatoes, stock and rosemary to pan. 6. Cover and transfer to oven. Braise until veal is tender and begins to fall off bones, about 2 hours. 7. To make gremolata, combine all ingredients in small bowl and mix. 8. Ladle one shank into each shallow bowl; ladle a bit of sauce over, and serve with gremolata sprinkled overtop.

4. Start by doing these steadily for 1 minute. Jump higher if this is too easy.

For dynamic stability, core endurance and strength, try the STABILITY BALL DIAGONAL KNEE HIKES, a kind of dynamic variation on “the plank.” 1. Start with forearms on the ball, shoulders and hips aligned. 2. Hike your knee forward allowing it to cross under your other leg, but no side-to-side hip movements. Keep movement slow and controlled. 3. Repeat 5 times with each leg to start. If too difficult, place ball against a wall.

For leg strength and more core work try the SPLIT SQUAT ALTERNATING DIAGONAL CHOPS, which involves using a medicine ball from a lunge stance. 1. Start with legs in a lunge stance and ball to the side of your hip. 2. Lift ball diagonally above opposite shoulder as you rise up. 3. Bring it down to the other hip as you lower down and repeat 5 times with each leg. Add more reps if this is too easy.

17 • FALL 2010



From a straightforward vision of serving something simple yet very well made comes the success of Montreal’s Soupesoup.

À LA SOUPE! Photos: Dean J. Brisson and Lou Cognée

par Yvan Marston

Simplicité et qualité : deux mots qui font le succès de Soupesoup CITÉ MULTIMÉDIA, MONTRÉAL / - À Montréal, réputée pour ses hivers plus que rigoureux, l’idée d’un restaurant se consacrant uniquement à la soupe est un concept plutôt alléchant. Et si, sous la chaleur estivale du moment, vous êtes loin de rêver d’un bon bol de soupe, c’est sans aucune réserve que se pressent chaque jour chez Soupesoup (au coin de King et de Wellington) une centaine de personnes pour un menu tout simple de quatre soupes (avec options froides pour l’été bien sûr) et quatre sandwiches. Ce sont des menus rapides et sains et, vu le succès de ses sept restaurants, Caroline Dumas, propriétaire, présidente et fondatrice de la chaîne, ne change pas de formule. « Je voulais servir quelque chose de simple et qui se préparait à l’avance », se souvient-elle en évoquant la période d’ébauche de ce projet de restaurant, devenu depuis le bar à soupe favori des Montréalais. On était en 2001 et Caroline Dumas caressait l’idée d’ouvrir son propre établissement lorsqu’elle remarqua un local à louer au coin des rues Duluth Est et Coloniale. Le confort et le réconfort étant à la base du concept, la décoration des restaurants est toujours très chaleureuse, tant et si bien que le premier établissement avec son faux fini de bois • 18

sur les murs était tellement douillet que certains clients pensaient que la patronne vivait à l’étage au-dessus. «La soupe a quelque chose de fondamental. C’est un plat de réconfort – peut-être parce que la purée est le premier plat qu’on donne aux bébés », suggère Caroline Dumas, chaleureuse jeune femme blonde, pleine d’énergie, qui arbore toujours un large sourire et semble continuellement à la recherche d’un nouveau défi. En plus de diriger une chaîne de restaurants, de rechercher de nouvelles occasions de franchise, de terminer un nouveau livre de recettes (en librairie cet automne), de participer à une émission quotidienne de cuisine sur V TÉLÉ, elle concocte, avec son équipe, 30 soupes différentes par semaines. « Dans les restaurants, les soupes sont rarement une priorité. On y prend généralement les restes de la journée et on les fait mijoter pendant des heures, ce qui dilue les saveurs et vide les légumes de leurs vitamines. Nous faisons nos soupes à base d’ingrédients frais et en beaucoup moins de temps », explique Caroline Dumas qui a eu cette idée de restaurant alors qu’elle dirigeait un service de cantine pour les plateaux de tournage de films et de publicités pour la télévision. Dans le secteur de la production télévisuelle à Montréal, en cinq ans ses services avaient acquis la réputation d’être fiables, ambitieux et créatifs – à tel point que les équipes de tournage délaissaient les repas du traiteur pour se régaler des petits mets concoctés par Caroline Dumas. Mais les horaires étaient longs et trop décalés pour cette jeune mère de famille.

« Je n’ai pas fait d’école de cuisine mais j’ai beaucoup appris avec la cantine. Et je savais qu’il fallait que je propose quelque chose qui pouvait se préparer à l’avance mais en restant savoureux et à base de produits frais. » Le Soupesoup de la Cité Multimédia est de loin le plus grand de la chaîne et l’ambiance chaleureuse y a été plus difficile à recréer, mais son mélange éclectique de fauteuils Eames et de chaises d’école récupérées, son mur de briques apparentes, ses fenêtres d’usines et ses affiches originales de films Nouvelle Vague lui donnent un caractère très convivial. Entre le succès croissant de ses restaurants, la sortie de son livre cet automne et ses apparitions régulières à la télévision, Caroline Dumas verra certainement sa chaîne prendre encore davantage d’envergure cette année. Malgré un emploi du temps bien chargé, elle semble grisée par les nombreuses possibilités qui se présentent et, alors que la plupart des gens cherchent dans un bol de soupe le réconfort, Caroline Dumas, elle, y trouve l’inspiration.

Montreal’s well-deserved reputation as a winter city makes the notion of a restaurant dedicated to crafting and serving soup quite palatable. And while its steamy summers might make you think twice about seeking comfort in a hot bowl, nobody appears to have that reservation at Soupesoup on the corner of King and Wellington late July where as many as 100 people pack the open concept space to choose from the simple four-soup (with cold options for summer, of course) and four-sandwich menu. Quick, simple and healthy are the order of the day here, and with seven locations under her belt, owner, president and founder Caroline Dumas is not deviating from the plan. “I needed to serve something simple and that could be ready in advance,” recalls Dumas on the initial thinking behind one of the city’s most revered soup stops. It was 2001 and Dumas was toying with the idea of opening her own space when a vacant retail spot on the corner of Duluth Est and Coloniale caught her eye. Now, beyond running a restaurant chain, investigating franchise opportunities, completing a new recipe book (in stores this fall), participating in a daily cooking show for V TÉLÉ, she and her team dream up 30 different soups a week. The Cite Multimedia location is by far the largest in the chain and proved a more challenging space to make cozy, but its eclectic mix of Eames chairs and reclaimed grade-school seating, along with exposed brick walls, factory windows and original Nouvelle Vague film posters give it a comfortable, neighbourhood feel. With her restaurants gaining popularity, her book coming out this Fall and regular television appearances in the works, this year will surely raise Soupesoup’s public profile. Despite her hectic schedule, Dumas appears excited at the possibilities. Where most people look to a bowl of soup for comfort, Dumas sits down in front of a steaming bowl to find inspiration.

19 • AUTOMNE 2010




Prêt-à-porter : la mode est au changement par Yvan Marston

GOOD GOODS Style Transition’s Jean Lefebvre represents Stones Menswear in Canada from studio space at 400 Atlantic, in Montreal. The German-made, Italian owned line is the second largest clothing company in Germany after Hugo Boss. Its lifestyle-driven fashions differentiate themselves by their quality to price ratio, says Lefebvre. The goods are manufactured in Eastern block countries, he explains, where the attention to stitching and detailing is much higher than in Asian factories. “That’s what’s keeping us in retailers – it gives them something different to offer: European-made goods at a good price,” he adds. RUE ATLANTIC, MONTRÉAL / - Jean Lefebvre ne savait pas, il y a dix ans, combien le nom qu’il avait choisi pour sa société était approprié. En effet, en 25 années passées dans la mode, le patron de Style Transition, installé au 400 rue Atlantis à Montréal et représentant de la marque Stones Menswear au Canada, a vu d’importants changements s’opérer dans son secteur environ tous les cinq ans. Mais récemment ces changements ont été plus marqués. « La mode a toujours été un secteur difficile, mais aujourd’hui pour les grossistes et les importateurs c’est devenu extrêmement dur parce que le commerce de détail a changé », explique Jean Lefebvre. Décontracté en jean et chandail, il est assis à une large table en chêne dans le salon où l’on peut admirer l’élégante collection d’hiver 2011. Jean Lefebvre a fait ses débuts dans la mode dans la prestigieuse boutique d’Henri Vezina au centre de Montréal. Il est ensuite passé à la vente en gros en travaillant chez Hugo Boss à Toronto en tant que représentant de la marque dans les provinces de l’Est pendant quelques années. Puis il y a 17 ans, Stones Menswear, groupe italien dont les collections sont dessinées en Allemagne, lui proposait de représenter sa ligne de vêtements. « Prenez Zara et H&M par exemple : ce sont des entreprises à intégration verticale, c’est-à-dire qu’elles passent directement de la production au commerce de détail », explique Jean Lefebvre en ajoutant que c’est un modèle d’entreprise qui permet de générer d’importantes marges tout en offrant de la marchandise à des prix attirants.

Deuxième entreprise de prêt-à-porter en Allemagne après Hugo Boss, Stones Menswear se distingue par le rapport qualité-prix de ses vêtements. « Nos collections sont confectionnées dans les pays de l’Est, poursuit-il, où l’attention portée au détail et à la couture est bien meilleure qu’en Asie ». « C’est ce qui nous permet de conserver notre présence dans les boutiques : on leur permet de proposer une collection différente avec des vêtements faits en Europe et à un prix abordable. » Mais vendre des vêtements d’hommes n’est pas tâche facile reconnaît Jean Lefebvre. « Les hommes ont tendance à être plus pratiques que les femmes. S’ils ont besoin d’un pantalon, ils vont tout simplement l’acheter, tandis que pour les femmes le magasinage est une activité en elle-même », affirme-t-il avant d’ajouter que c’est ce qui explique qu’il y a en moyenne au Canada cinq magasins de vêtements féminins pour un magasin de vêtements pour hommes. Toutefois les hommes ont tendance à être de loyaux clients. Quand ils trouvent régulièrement ce qu’ils cherchent dans une boutique, ils y deviennent fidèles. Une fidélité que Stones Menswear pourra peut-être aussi exploiter un jour. Le nombre de magasins pour hommes étant réduit et le modèle d’intégration verticale prenant de l’ampleur sur ce marché, les fabricants sont de plus en plus nombreux à se lancer dans le commerce de détail. Stones Menswear, qui a déjà ouvert plus de 30 magasins en Europe, a ainsi commencé à étudier ses possibilités sur ce marché au Canada.


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Chronique - Automne 2010  

Le magazine des locataires du Fonds de placement immobilier Allied Properties