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80 Bass Pro Mills Dr. Unit 13, Vaughan, ON

“VISION IS THE POWER TO SEE WHAT’S AHEAD, AND THE ABILITY TO CREATE IT” — Dr. Steve Gupta, President and CEO of the Gupta Group Through an exciting series of residential projects, the Gupta Group transforms urban city living while surpassing all expectations. Each of the Gupta Group’s residential projects offers an unparalleled level of added value, along with personal touches to ensure high-quality living.

3100 Steeles Ave. E., Suite 601, Markham, Ont. 905-940-9409

Aug/Sept 2017

City Life Magazine







FOR THE LOVE OF FARM: Looking at local Ontario farms and how they’ve flourished through organic and humane cultivation




Reetu Gupta, COO of the Easton’s Group of Hotels and the Gupta Group, keeps winning, but remains humble


Nashville heartthrob Chris Lane shares his songwriting secrets and workout inspo

74 LETHAL DOSE: As the opioid

epidemic migrates east, York Region’s numbers are climbing

14 #CITYFINDS: Find out what made it on our midsummer lust list

48 THE BEST OF THE BEST: 50 years and counting! We have the inside scoop on La Paloma’s success

59 THE NEW CREW: Mattel


24 10

Canada Inc. unveils its most diverse and multicultural group of Ken dolls to date

68 2018 GIULIA

QUADRIFOGLIO: Admiring the power, balance and sheer beauty of the new Alfa Romeo

70 FINE LINES: Exploring

the dangers of easily accessible cosmetic rejuvenation procedures for young men and women

More stories inside …

60 THE DIGITAL DIVIDE: Is all this digital integration making our kids smarter?

City Life Magazine

Aug/Sept 2017






255 Bass Pro Mills Drive l Vaughan, Ontario l 905 851 1188

Aug/Sept 2017

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‘‘ Michelle Zerillo-Sosa, Publisher/Editor-in-Chief

There is a theory that those who live close to where food is grown are more religious. Because when you see how food is actually created, instead of just seeing it packaged in a store in a city, it gives you a real sense of awe. And I love that and would like to be closer to that.” — B.J. Novak



ome time ago, my husband and I started toying with the notion of what it would be like to live in the country, have more land and, heck, maybe even some egg-laying chickens for the zabaglione. With every MLS search, as we looked for a property that would take us away from the perpetual city traffic, the crowds of shoppers making pilgrimages to the mall, we felt a gravitational pull as we saw places surrounded by green pastures, and realized we were ready to move. Sightings of horses and other farm animals began to move us more strongly than my kids’ arguments about not wanting to change schools or leave their friends behind. Whether it was a voice of reason or just our getting older, we both felt we could no longer ignore this desire — much like Brent Preston, the passionate farmer who fled the city and the rat race with his family and bought a farm in Creemore, Ont., to live a more sustainable lifestyle. As you can see, the theme of this parallels, is to some extent what is happening in my life. 12

City Life Magazine

Aug/Sept 2017

As I sit here in my local Maple library with a copy of The New Farm, by Brent Preston (yes, this farmer wrote a book), collecting my thoughts to put down in this letter — at home, my stuff all ready and packed in 30-foot Pods, just waiting to be picked up — I cannot help but feel a storm of emotions. I’m happy, melancholic, excited and even a bit scared (don’t tell my kids) — I can totally relate to Preston’s chapter about his family’s move. After all, it’s a big change to leave the city and the community you have lived in for the past 30 years and move to … “Where?” “Adjala!” These emotions come up every time we try to explain to people where we are actually moving to. As you read about our farmers, and how some chose farming as a way of life, giving in to their desire to have a more fulfilling and happy lifestyle (one started his own farm to offer a healthier food choices to safeguard his wife’s health, and later, that of his community, by farming what is now Canada’s finest organic beef ) you won’t help but feel both admiration and envy. This is hard work, and society has long looked down upon those who work

the land. People often associate farming with dirt, sweat, lack of education and zero profit. But we dare you to reflect on how these farmers live their lives; to Beretta Farms, Yorkshire Valley Farms, Paradise Farms and the New Farm, the “good food movement” is not for idealists, but realists. These farmers dedicate themselves to sustainability and still make a profit, winning awards as exemplary farm models. Some even encourage their kids to explore the world, to get an education — not to escape farming, but to further appreciate that small-scale, sustainable organic farming can be a viable alternative to industrial agriculture. This career choice is hard work, but these farmers take on new life as they try to benefit the greater good. By helping their communities to enjoy real, good food, playing a vital role in making the world healthier, and by borrowing the land for one generation and leaving it a little bit better for the next, these farmers demonstrate how to turn a profit without giving in to greed. Mindful living is what I am looking for at this stage of my life. Farming can offer simple lessons about being more grateful, more caring and more patient. Perhaps the fact that our family move has been postponed for another week or so is yet another sign that we as a family need to take stock of our lives. We need to think about what is really important and what is just a lot of noise in our urban existence. I hope you enjoy this edition of City Life Magazine. Our intent with these stories is not to make you quit your desk job to become a farmer. But, if by reading this issue, you dream a little more, become wiser, healthier and happier — then we have done our job in sharing how you, too, can live a better City Life.

Michelle Zerillo-Sosa Publisher/Editor-in-Chief




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FRONT COVERSBan Graphics By Christina Cristine Prosperi and Sebastian Giovinco City Life MagazinePhotos • Volume • Issue 4 • Aug/Sept 2017 By15Jesse Milns

City Life Magazine is published bimonthly by DolceCity Media 111 Zenway Blvd.,13Suite 30, Vaughan, Ont. L4H2015 3H9 LifeGroup, Magazine • Volume • Issue 3 • JUNE/JULY T: 905-264-6789 F: 905-264-3787 City Life Magazine is• published bimonthly by Dolce Media Group, 111 Zenway •Blvd., Suite 30, Vaughan, Ont. L4H 3H9 905-264-6789 • F: 905-264-3787 Subscribe T:online at or by calling • 905-264-6789. City Life Magazine’s yearly subscription fee is $24.00. Subscribe online at callingMedia Group, We accept Visa, MC & AMEX. Send cheque or money orderortobyDolce 905-264-6789. City Blvd. Life Magazine ’s yearly subscription fee is $24.00. 111 Zenway #30, Vaughan, Ont. L4H 3H9. We accept Visa, MC & AMEX. Send cheque or money order to Dolce Media Group, Publication No. 40026675 111 ZenwayMail Blvd.Agreement #30, Vaughan, Ont. L4H 3H9. All rights reserved. is strictly prohibited PublicationAnyMailreproduction Agreement No. 40026675 written consent from theispublishers. Allwithout rights reserved. Any reproduction strictly prohibited

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City Life Magazine reaches 294,810 readers per issue through household distribution and event City Lifeacross Magazine reaches per issuetothrough household newsstand of partnerships Canada. City342,342 Life is readers also available over 100 milliondistribution, digital consumers sales and event partnerships across Canada. City Life is also available to over 100 million digital Magzterconsumers Inc. and Issuu. of Magzter Inc. and Issuu. City City Life Life Magazine is available DolceMedia Media InquiriesInquiries about about wherewhere Magazine is availableforforsale saleshould should be be directed directed totoDolce Group: Group: or 905-264-6789. or 905-264-6789. ISSN 1206-1778 Next Issue: Oct/Nov 2017 2015 ISSN 1206-1778 Next Issue: Aug./Sept. Magazine areare those notnecessarily necessarilyreflreflectect The opinions expressed in Cityin Life City Life Magazine thoseofofthetheauthors authorsand and do not The opinions expressed the views theofpublisher or advertisers. Dolce liabilityforforcontent. content. the ofviews the publisher or advertisers. DolceMedia MediaGroup Groupdoes doesnot not assume liability The material this magazine is intended informationpurposes purposesonly only and and is inin nonoway The material in thisinmagazine is intended for for information wayintended intended to supersede professional advice. proudto tobebea aCanadian Canadian company company that to supersede professional advice. We We are are proud that has hassuccessfully successfully published magazines the past 19 years withoutanyanygovernment government funding funding or fifinancial published magazines for theforpast 20 years without nancialassistance assistance of programs cover editorial all been possible thanks to the wonderfulsupport supportof ofour of programs to coverto editorial costs.costs. It hasIt allhasbeen possible thanks to the wonderful our readers and advertisers. readers and advertisers. Dolce Media • • Printed in Canada ©2017©2015 Dolce Media GroupGroup • • Printed in Canada @citylifetoronto



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#City #CityFinds City

City Life brings you the hottest in furniture and fashion to keep the summer sizzle going ▼ ORANGE OTTOMAN: The Firth Rectangular Ottoman with a buttontufted velvet seat and gold-finished metal base

▲ BEE WAFFLE BATHROBES: Get your R&R started with these Bee Waffle Bathrobes

MAKING SENSE WITH HOMESENSE: Dine in style with this chic HomeSense collection

SELENE FURNITURE: Enjoy the best sleep of your life with Italian-designed Selene beds

ANTHROPOLOGIE: Don the most stylish threads of the season from Anthropologie ◀ ROAD RUNNER: Rooster and Hen Family tasselled table runner by Pier 1 Imports

▶ DIESEL: BAD It’s rebellious. It’s irresistible. It’s so good, it’s Bad … by Diesel

ZARA: The latest from Zara’s men’s outerwear collection

◀ KICKIN’ BACK: Put your feet up (literally) with this round pouf ottoman from Wayfair ▼ DON’T PUT THE BOTTLE BEFORE THE CART: Take your beverages where you want with this wheelbarrow bottle caddy

▲ TOOLS & PARTS: Find a fun way for the kids to organize with this cubby wall storage

We want to hear from you! Send your #CityFinds to for the opportunity to be featured in our next edition.


City Life Magazine

Aug/Sept 2017


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Aug/Sept 2017

City Life Magazine




Who Win The Easton’s Group of Hotels and the Gupta Group have struck gold with COO Reetu Gupta, who was recently crowned one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40. From her tough, get ‘er done attitude to her charismatic charm, see what makes this successful (and humble) boss lady one to watch Interview By Michelle Zerillo-Sosa Written By Rick Muller


City Life Magazine

Aug/Sept 2017

Each nominee completed a gruelling application, wrote an essay and was subjected to interviews. The advisory and selection board was comprised of many of the most respected CEOs from some of the largest companies in Canada. We recently sat down with Gupta for an exclusive interview, where she shared her thoughts on the award, her business philosophies and her vision for her company. Q. Congratulations on this award! Do you take this as a personal accolade or perhaps more as recognition of the good work being done at the Easton’s Group and the Gupta Group? A. I would say neither; I feel this is all

God’s blessings. It is only with His guidance that I received this, and so I cannot take credit for this. With this recognition, I can only hope to inspire others, especially women, to aim high and always have faith in the universe. Q. Canada is unique in having this award that recognizes under-40s.

What does that say about this country? A. If you take a look at the award winners,

they fall across so many industries and have various backgrounds. Our unique group is like a stained-glass window, and Canada is the light allowing us to shine so bright! This shows you how united and supportive our country is. Q. Do you consider yourself a role model for other business leaders under 40? A. Ha ha ha! I always laugh when

people say to me, “You are a role model,” because I do not feel I am one, and I still see myself as this little kid who loves hotels and believes in magic. I do wish to inspire others to believe in their dreams and believe that anything is possible! Q. Being a member of the Gupta family and a daughter of Steve Gupta, was there ever a time you considered a career outside of real estate? A. When I was a child, rather than play

house like most little girls, I liked to

Photo by robin gartner


he orbit around Reetu Gupta is one of sizzle, substance and an unmistakable vibe of success and style. As chief operating officer of the Easton’s Group of Hotels and the Gupta Group, Gupta is one of the emerging group of new leaders in Canada poised to take her generation to even greater heights. It is, therefore, not surprising that Gupta was recently named as one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 — a dynamic awards program that identifies outstanding and inspirational achievers, visionaries and innovators in Canadian business that are changing the way business is being conducted in this country. This is an extremely prestigious award, as many of Canada’s best-known corporate leaders have been among the roster of past award winners. To be nominated is an accomplishment in itself, but to be selected is indeed one of Canada’s top corporate achievements. There were more than one thousand individuals from across the country in the running for just 40 awards.

Reetu Gupta was appointed chief operating officer of the Easton’s Group of Hotels and the Gupta Group in 2015, after being actively involved in the companies since 2005 as vice-president of marketing and strategic development


April/May 2017

City Life Magazine


play office. So this business has been in my blood. I did try working outside the company, in the IT division of an insurance firm. It was so slow-paced and not at all something I found I could blossom in. Q. Is there a person in your life or business career that you consider a mentor … and if so, what have you learned from that person?

A. I am a sum of everyone I have

ever met; I feel that everyone I meet has something to teach me. The most important people in my life are my parents and my siblings. My dad taught me never to give up; my mom taught me confidence in all situations. My siblings have taught me strength and the meaning of unconditional love.

Q. What are your guiding business philosophies? A. The Gupta Group and the Easton’s

Group are family businesses and will always be at the heart. I treat everyone as family: team members, clients, guests. These are the people who keep our business running. I also believe that

when you have sincere motivation and compassion, you will always be successful. Q. For those under 40, technology and screens have been a dominant force in their lives – but isn’t it just as important to develop strong and solid face-to-face interpersonal skills?

A. I remember the days where we only

had landlines and payphones. Once we got cellphones, as much as it disrupted society at first, it also progressed us into the future. Technology can change, but human relationships will always be based on sincerity and compassion. Maybe this is done on the phone or in person, but those vitals will not change, and each relationship is unique. Q. You as a Coo have a pressurefilled job and many responsibilities. How do you achieve that elusive work-life-play balance? A. I feel that you will always make time

for activities that you enjoy. When you find you are constantly out of time, this is when you start to feel burned out. I will always make time for the things that I enjoy in life.

Q. What is one key piece of advice you would give a person just graduating high school and about to enter university?

A. University is just high school in

a bigger building; it’s nothing to be afraid of. Education is the one thing in life that no one can take from you; knowledge is power. Take advantage of the education and also get involved with the community at the school. The life experience you get from being involved in those activities will shape who you are. Q. Where do you see yourself in 20 years, and if you could look back over that period of time, what would mean “success” to you?

A. Success is not about wealth and riches for me. Success for me is: am I happy, is my family happy and have I bettered the lives of others? For me in 20 years the answers to all of those questions will most certainly be yes. Because I believe in living life with happiness, not for happiness.


The Country Day School offers JK-12 in a co-ed, non-denominational environment located on 100 beautiful acres in King. 13415 Dufferin Street, King, Ontario L7B 1K5 T: 905 833 1972


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City Life Magazine

Aug/Sept 2017


October 14, 10 am – 1 pm


October 26, 7 pm – 9 pm 7/18/17 9:47 AM


“Our mission is to provide high quality custom millwork to our clients through the use of superior materials and accessories, as well as industry leading customer service to provide added value to all our clients.” — Joseph Primucci, President of NIICO

905-264-6952 | 61 Alex Avenue, Vaughan, Ont.

Aug/Sept 2017

City Life Magazine


Photo Courtesy of mizrahi develoPments



City Life Magazine

Aug/Sept 2017

ToronTo Goes Back, and Forward, To The FuTure


1. The One 2. Ryerson University Student Learning Centre 3. Union Station 4. Eau du Soleil Waterfront Condominiums


Toronto is considered by many to be an international and world-class city. With plans unveiled at the second biennial Toronto of the Future event in June, local developers and real-estate figures show how the city will keep that status Written By Daniel Calabretta

Photos Courtesy of zeidler PartnershiP arChiteCts


ack in June, Torontonians got a glimpse into the future. And what they witnessed has the potential of transforming the face of the city. The Rotunda at Metro Hall and the Winter Garden Lobby of the Metrocentre King Tower in Toronto played host to the second biennial edition of Toronto of the Future, a captivating and comprehensive fiveday showcase that provides spectators a glance at prospective urban development and infrastructure projects throughout the city. The event ran from June 26 to June 30 and was open to the public, free of charge. The two venues were co-hosted by the City of Toronto and Oxford Properties Group. A large 3D scale model of the city was presented at the event, displaying downtown Toronto buildings — most notably, the CN Tower and Rogers Centre — as well as towering bank headquarters, along with various skyscrapers currently being constructed. “We have around one hundred projects presented in various forms at the showcase,” says Robert J. Vezina, founder and organizer of Toronto of the Future. “Some are under construction; some are planned and approved by the city. [Just] a few are only proposed or envisioned for a really more distant future — we could say a span of 50 years.” The 3D


scale model not only displayed a present and future representation of the city, but it also identified the more antiquated structures of Toronto. One of the main attractions at the event was a hulking 3D model of Mizrahi Developments’ “The One,” an 82-storey retail and condo building that will exceed a thousand feet and earn the title of the tallest building in Canada. “It is bragging rights for Toronto and for Canada,” Sam Mizrahi, president and founder of Mizrahi Developments, told Property Biz Canada in June. “It is the tallest building in Canada and we are quite proud of it.” The One had its own presentation display at Toronto of the Future, separate from the Metro Hall Rotunda. Construction of the building will take place at 1 Bloor St. West. Toronto of the Future also had many other forms of design and architectural visualization models, such as panel illustrations, virtual presentations and renderings — all from the best of the best in the development sector of Toronto. “The event is also an opportunity for planners to compare their projects with others, and the more original proposals stand out,” says Venzina. “This is a good thing because it could, in fact, generate better development for the city in the long run.”


Aug/Sept 2017

City Life Magazine





From North Carolina athlete to one of Nashville’s hottest country pop stars, Chris Lane hits the ground running, opening on Florida Georgia Line’s Smooth Tour alongside the Backstreet Boys and stirring up some magic of his own Interview By Rebecca Alberico

Q. How did you discover your talent for music, and why did you decide to pursue that path? A. I didn’t grow up singing my whole

life. I mean, I would sing along to the radio and stuff, but it’s not something I sat down and thought I had a career in. During the time I was sidelined from my injury, I started learning how to play the guitar just for fun, and it turned into all this. Once I got good enough I started learning how to sing and play at the same time; it really developed into a passion I didn’t know I had. As passionate as I was for baseball and football growing up, I had this deeper passion that just grew on me. I loved it. Once I started 22

City Life Magazine

Aug/Sept 2017

playing shows I decided it was what I wanted to do. So I worked as hard as I possibly could, not knowing what would ever happen with it. But I’m thankful for those injuries, because I probably wouldn’t have ever even attempted to go this route [otherwise].

what are you going to do about that?” I look at my mom like, “Would you please tell him to quit that right now?”

Q. What was your goal with your latest record, Girl Problems? A. When I was recording my album I

brother and me our whole lives. No matter what, he encouraged us to work the hardest we could to be the best at whatever it was. Once I started learning how to play the guitar and sing I applied that same advice. Musically, Keith Urban was a huge inspiration of mine. I loved everything about his music, the sound, how he played guitar — I mean, that’s what inspired me to want to pick up a guitar. I grew up on Garth Brooks and Alan Jackson, Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney, all major inspirations for me.

just wanted to record songs that I loved, and hopefully songs that people would show up and be able to sing to. I tried to keep it as upbeat as possible because that’s how I want my shows. I got to learn a lot from Florida Georgia Line, touring with those guys. I saw the energy they brought to the table, and I wanted songs that would bring a similar energy so I could take that on stage. Hopefully I did that! Q. You mentioned that your twin brother Cory is your drummer. What’s it like touring with him and having your parents come out to your shows? A. [When] we played sports my parents

never missed a game, and now they’re at the shows. They’re very supportive. My dad seems to think he has to find me a wife every time he comes out to a show. He’ll post up at the back and talk to every girl. Girls come to me during the meet and greet and they’re like, “So, your dad’s calling us his daughter-in-law,

Q. Who are some of your inspirations and mentors in or out of the industry? A. Definitely my dad; he pushed my

Q. You’ve been extremely busy on tour this year, but you made a promise to yourself and your fans to focus on your physical fitness. How has that fared so far? A. I’ve been given the opportunity to go

out on a stage most nights, and that alone makes me want to be in the best shape I could possibly be in. You’re running around singing and sometimes it’s not easy to do. I don’t want to be running out of breath. I see other country singers like Tim McGraw, who is absolutely ripped — like, crazy fit. You look at those around you in the industry and

Photo Courtesy of Chris Lane


ust days after releasing his 2016 debut album, Girl Problems, Chris Lane’s single “Fix” shot to number 1. Now, as the 32-year-old singer wraps up the final months of life on the road, he’s putting the final touches on a tour of his own slated to begin at the end of this year. His musical journey may have been sparked by chance after several sports injuries sidelined his MLB dreams, but Lane’s success is no accident. If there’s one thing the country singer believes wholeheartedly, it’s that hard work pays off: “When you work hard enough at something, you will get it,” says Lane. “There’s no doubt about it.” City Life Magazine chats with the heartthrob just before he hits the stage in Texas.

GaRTH BROOks TOld mE THaT yOu can GET anywHERE yOu wanT In THIs lIFE wITH HOw yOu TREaT pEOplE and HOw HaRd yOu wORk.

think, if someone as big as Tim McGraw is in that good shape, then I should be able to do it, too — if not better! Q. When you’re trying to create new music, where are you most in your element to dream up new ideas? A. For me a lot of it is lying down at

night. I think a lot when I’m lying around. Sometimes I have a tough time going to sleep and I find that’s when, if I come up with anything, whether it’s a song title or idea for a song, I generally write it down in my notes. Another cool part of this tour is that they have a bus out here called Tree Vibez Music, and it’s their writing bus. They bring out a bunch of songwriters every weekend and you can jump on the bus at any time and write a song with whoever you want. It’s always good to continuously have ideas. Or there may be a story that somebody told me during a meet and greet and I’ll always write it down, [so] whether I use it or not, it’s there. I have a million different things in my notes that I look at. Q. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? A. Garth Brooks told me that you can In 2017 Lane was nominated for an iHeartRadio Music Award, for Best New Country Artist and an ACM Award, for New Male Vocalist of the Year

get anywhere you want in this life with how you treat people and how hard you work, and I find that to be very true. Aug/Sept 2017

City Life Magazine



Foodies Unite Divine and delectable are the experiences for those who venture to this month’s foodie hot spots, listed below. Whether it’s locally produced handmade sweets, the genuine tastes of Italy and Spain or vegan burgers and fish, it’ll be love at first bite

mercat del carmen

julie emm cakes

La Bottega di Terroni has been importing Italian boutique items for decades, including the Peperoncini Piccanti, a spicy staple condiment. Their low-acid, pungent Terroni olive oil comes from a small Puglia grove. Tomatoes are expertly plucked to make their tomato sauce, and the fullbodied, sweet Due Vittorie balsamic vinegar is made near Modena, the birthplace of balsamic.

At Carmen, get a taste of authentic Spain and its culinary traditions, which include paella (with rabbit, snails, octopus, shrimp or clams), seared sardines, steamed mussels, tapas and everything in between. The restaurant touts traditional recipes, heavenly flavours and simple ingredients, all created by Chef Luis Valenzuela Robles Linares. Look for the dazzling Spanish vino list, too!

How can you not be giddy over chocolate cake with a Lindt chocolate truffle filling? That’s among the many specialties of Julie Emm Custom Cakes and Confections. There are a dozen more varieties where that came from — including vanilla passionfruit, summer berry, pumpkin spice and pistachio raspberry. Let’s also not forget the array of sweet tables and other confections!




Soma Chocolatemaker brings out the personality of every cacao bean, offering a myriad of food fun — truffles, gelato, flavoured bars, toffee, drinking chocolate and spreads — for all occasions. No artificial flavours or chemicals are used. Cacao beans are sourced from Central America, the Caribbean, Madagascar and the South Pacific. The “small, funky chocolate factory” has two locations.

Planta’s raison d’être is to offer mouthwatering food while promoting environmental sustainability. Chef David Lee’s innovative, upscale, plant-based offerings include such global fare as sweet mess tacos, fried kimchi dumplings and Thai noodles. Then there’s the Italian pizza that dances with cashew mozzarella, farro, fennel sausage and mushroom bacon. The land lox and crab cakes taste completely “real”!


City Life Magazine

Aug/Sept 2017

Photo courtesy of Planta

Written By Dave Gordon




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1. Wiltshire Garden Dinner Plate | 2. Peperoncini Piccanti | 3. Fresh tea from Japan | 4. Pomodori Pelati | 5. A dish from Carmen restaurant | 6. Cupcake Black Forest Decadent Red | 7. Julie Emm Custom Cakes | 8. Baicoli, a.k.a. SOMA Chips | 9. Barocco Forte Espresso Beans | 10. Planta’s custom-blend, cold-pressed juice |

Aug/Sept 2017

City Life Magazine


Photo courtesy of hillcrest mall


Bees at the Hill Hillcrest Mall is the first Canadian shopping centre to install a rooftop beekeeping area to preserve the species Written By Daniel Calabretta


here are about 50,000 honeybees occupying a portion of the rooftop of Richmond Hill’s Hillcrest Mall. That number is expected to climb to roughly 80,000 by summer’s end. Don’t be alarmed — these bees are there on purpose. They’re a part of Hillcrest’s new rooftop beekeeping area, which launched back in June in an effort to maintain and preserve the precarious bee species while promoting local bee farming. “It’s a mixture of both [creating awareness and producing honey],” says Lisa Resnic, Hillcrest’s marketing director. “Definitely the awareness, the getting people to jump on board and do this, and that we felt passionate about helping bees was the number one [thing]. And then, obviously, as by-product, we get honey.” Resnic mentions that the most “immediate” value she and the team at Hillcrest identified was the importance 26

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of biodiversity and of ensuring the health of the bee species. Resnic and her team visit the rooftop area on a regular basis to check that the bees have fresh water, the wildflowers are blooming and the bees’ pollination path is clear. Additionally, Toronto-based beekeeping company Alvéole comes every two weeks to conduct maintenance on the bees in the seven hives. “It’s the health of the bees that we really need to concentrate on.” Based on a 2015 Report of the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry (in Canada), it’s clear that the bee species is important, both environmentally and economically. The findings show that roughly “onethird of the human diet comes directly or indirectly from insect-pollinated plants,” which rely on insects like bees. The species also has a significant economic impact, as “bumblebees used in greenhouses are a $3.7 million per year industry.” And the continent could

be at risk of losing a large portion of the bee species, as referenced by a Center for Biological Diversity report this February, which found that “more than 700 North American bee species are headed toward extinction.” “I think that’s very sad,” Resnic says of the findings. “Anytime that I hear about a species under threat, I think it’s terribly sad.” But she says there is room for optimism, as seen with the launch of Hillcrest’s initiative. “I am encouraged that people are so willing to jump in and help.” Resnic says that she had an elderly retired gentleman call her recently. “He wanted to know if he can have beehives in his backyard. He read the articles and wants to help. If we can lead the way, and if this invites another half-dozen people to put beehives in their backyards, then that takes it to the next step, and I like that.”

A dv e r to r i A l

Allies in Community Health Care

Dr. Oswaldo Ramirez, B.Sc., MD, CCFP, FRRMS Medical Director, Nobleton Medical Clinic

A group of health professionals joined forces to offer the rapidly growing community of Nobleton and surrounding areas an outstanding “Whole Health Solution”

Photo by Carlos a. PiNto


ongtime friends and business partners, doctors Oswaldo Ramirez and Filipe Tiburcio — Dr. Oz and Dr. Phil, as the two like to joke — spearhead the allin-one wellness facility located at 12931 Highway 27: Nobleton Medical & Walk-In Clinic, Physiomed Nobleton and the King-Nobleton Gym (KNG). The newly renovated facility also includes dental care, vision services and a pharmacy. By having a team of health-care providers available at one convenient location, Dr. Ramirez believes patients are more inclined to look after their overall well-being — this sparked his desire to offer an inter-professional health program. “Our ‘whole health’ approach means we treat the cause, not just the symptom,” says Dr. Tiburcio, doctor of chiropractic at Physiomed and co-owner of KNG. “By working with different professionals in the health field, we believe we will not leave any stone unturned and, thus, we increase the likelihood of a patient improving and decrease the chances of recurrence.” The journey to a client’s “Whole Health Solution” begins with a visit with Dr. Ramirez or Dr. Tiburcio to determine what the patient’s goals are and how they can be achieved —

realistically. These goals usually include one or a combination of the following: pain and injury treatment, chronic condition management, weight loss and preventative health, and athletic performance improvement. “First and foremost, we want to have a clear picture of our client’s current health,” says Dr. Ramirez, medical director of the Nobleton Medical Clinic and co-owner of KNG. “Everyone is encouraged to have a comprehensive medical assessment and a physical fitness test if they are planning to utilize KNG Total Fitness.” The doctors then discuss the best course of action for the patient and a treatment plan that will lead to measurable results. More than ever, Dr. Ramirez says clients are looking to get into fitness and nutrition, but don’t know where to start. The centre provides science-based medical advice and does not promote the concept of fad dieting for weight loss. The on-site fitness centre offers one-on-one personal training from certified fitness instructors, as well as a number of engaging group classes. “It’s taking it back to basics and teaching the importance of nutrition and achievable fitness goals that can be maintained long-term,” says Dr. Ramirez. Dr. Tiburcio believes strongly in the power of allied health and the benefits of such an inclusive facility. He says healthy living is being able to have a balance between mind, body and soul. With these three elements in balance, client’s are able to Dr. Filipe Tiburcio achieve great personal goals and H.B.Sc., M.Sc., CAFCI, DC Doctor of Chiropractic, continue to reach for new ones. Physiomed Additional services at the facility include physicianadministered Botox, not solely for esthetic purposes, but also to manage conditions like hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating). The experienced physicians stress the importance of turning to a medical professional for any injectable service to avoid incorrect placement, facial paralysis and other potentially dangerous complications. The doctors run a one-of-a-kind facility in the area, with services tailored to client demand. The well-rounded menu specifically caters to the “whole health” approach. “We want to keep people motivated, engaged and healthy,” says Dr. Ramirez. “It’s about total patient satisfaction.”

Total Fitness Facility

12931 Hwy. 27, Nobleton, Ont. 905-859-9998 Aug/Sept 2017

City Life Magazine



You Asked, HE ANSWERED Paul Walker, certified personal trainer, sports nutritionist, lifestyle and wellness coach and owner of Integrity Fitness answers your personal fitness and nutrition questions @aidenbranden: In your opinion, is working out in the morning or night better?

Morning training induces a calm, relaxed, clear state all day long — you think better, you feel better, you’re less stressed. There’s also a lot less chance to miss a workout, because things tend to pop up during the day if you planned on working out later. However, there is no hard-and-fast rule. Moving the body daily for a minimum of 15-20 minutes, when you can and however you can, is always the answer. @annascono: Should carbs be consumed before or after a workout?

Despite the bad rap that many carbs get today, they are an essential part of properly fuelling your body before a workout. If you are training for a sport, then have some carbs before you train and compete, if that’s what you want to do. I would suggest about 30-50 grams of carbs per hour of training 30-60 minutes before you train (plus 10-15 grams of protein). It depends on your body weight and sport. If losing body fat is the goal, the answer would be based on the time the day and your fitness level. Early risers in a fasted state will need some fuel in before they plan on performing highintensity exercise. Unless you know your body well, training on empty often reduces sustained performance, or you run the risk of low blood sugar, and that will cause extreme nausea and/or dizziness. Eat at least half a banana with a dash of peanut butter, half a cup of Greek yogurt, or a protein smoothie made with water and some fruit, like berries. Not too many, as having carbs before you work out literally programs your body to use those free-circulating carbs for energy and not your stored body fat. Depending on when you work out, and if your schedule allows, you should try and get a full meal in your system 1-2 hours post-workout. For many this is their largest and most nutritious meal of the day. The focus should be on balance, making sure you have a good ratio of healthy carbs (veggies, fruits), a clean source of protein (chicken, turkey, fish) and some healthy fats (avocado, nuts, nut butters, etc.). @fasciano_t: Do BCAAs really help during and after a workout?

Branched-chain amino acids are commonly referred to as BCAAs, and these amino acids are not always readily made 28

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by the body. Simply put, BCAAs support lean muscle growth and help prevent muscle wasting — exactly the kind of help you want when you exercise. So, BCAAs help with muscle recovery, maintaining lean mass and even building new muscle. I have played with the time of the day with my BCAA consumption and found zero difference in muscle recovery, growth or performance. I personally prefer glutamine over BCAAs for muscle soreness, muscle growth and muscular endurance. @danieladamic: What type of training is better for fat loss, cardio or weight training?

I love this question — we get it all the time. The right answer is both. Steady-state cardio will preserve muscle, but who really wants to jump on a treadmill for 45 minutes? Resistance training or weight training builds muscle, shapes the body and, in turn, will stimulate the metabolism — but again, it can be boring for some. I find that to strip off the body fat, nothing works like metabolic circuit training to manipulate the body and speed up the metabolism. Circuit training that uses all your big muscles, like your legs, your chest and your back, with functional conditioning movements added in, is the ideal recipe for losing more calories and toning the body. And you don’t have to train long with this method, as it keeps the body burning calories long after the workout has ended. @sandramazz: How can I maintain my weight this summer with all the BBQs and alcohol? Any tips?

For me, being an awesome guest and bringing your own food that everyone can enjoy, like a veggie or fruit tray, or a fun homemade appetizer, is always best because you know you’re going to have something to eat. Try to stay with the white meat and lay off the carbs. If I know I have an event, I tend to eat and train super balanced all week with the intention that I’m going to a function. That’s part of the balance in my lifestyle: giving myself permission to indulge that day. For more of our exclusive Q&A with Paul Walker, visit!

for the love of farm

Think food.Think flavour, nuTrienTs and amazing TasTe. now Think good food.


the short-sighted and never-ending quest for cheap fast food, we were well on our way to cheating ourselves — and future generations — out of nutrients, flavour and the joy that comes from eating food that simply tastes good. So thank the universe for the farmers who put the brakes on to celebrate sustainable food and traditional and regional cuisine, and to promote healthy food filled with nutrients that nourish our bodies and souls — food that stays with you long after the plates have been cleared. On the following pages, you will read about four stellar farms that produce good food. They are run by people who see themselves as stewards of the land, who care about beef, poultry, fresh fruits and vegetables, and even more about what you’re putting on your plate.

Aug/Sept 2017

City Life Magazine


Forget factory farms and chasing bigger and bigger yields year after year. The New Farm is all about values and stewardship and keeping your eyes on the prize. It does well by doing good

The New farm:

Brent Preston, storyteller, and farmer of a new kind of farm Written By Donna Paris


rent Preston doesn’t have the luxury of enjoying a hot or cold beverage and putting his feet up while he talks about his farm. Instead, he’s fielding questions on his cellphone outside. “I’m in the chicken coop right now, doing something that requires no mental attention at all — I’m all yours!” he laughs. And that’s just fine with Preston. He’s not the kind of guy that likes to stand still. In fact, before he and his wife Gillian Flies bought the farm, he had several careers: a human rights investigator, an aid worker, an election observer and a journalist. He met 30

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Gillian in the early ’90s, when they were both working for the same NGO in Malawi, on a project supporting a new government trying to strengthen democratic institutions. So how did these two crazy kids end up on a farm in Creemore, Ont.? Actually, it’s not as if Brent and Gillian started out looking for a farm. They were living in Toronto with two young kids, and they wanted a weekend property, but couldn’t afford anything. “Somehow we ended up convincing ourselves to buy this farm and live here, without any idea of how we were going to make it work,” he says. They moved to the farm in 2004.

“For Gillian and me, the act of farming has always been a political act, so we’re trying to run a farm business that is sustainable, economically viable, and build community, too,” says Preston. “That outlook of what we are doing grows out of all the other work that we’ve done, whether it was human rights work or international aid.” IT sTarTed wITh a few TomaToes

They started out small, with just a vegetable garden for themselves, growing tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and lettuce. Brent’s family grew a vegetable garden in their Scarborough,

Photo By Jason van Bruggen

Brent Preston, co-owner of Creemore-based The New Farm

Ont., backyard when he was growing up, and Gillian grew up on a farm in Vermont, so they were comfortable with it. Then, they started planting a larger garden and selling produce in the farmers’ market in Creemore. Gradually they began to increase the garden size and the number of outlets and places where they sold their food. “We started selling to restaurants, then to retail stores, and got progressively bigger and more complex as we went, but the whole way along, we were just learning by making a lot of mistakes,” says Preston. “It took a lot of years to get to the scale we’re at now, but it was a process of trial and error.” For both of them, the most surprising thing when they moved was that there wasn’t a lot of local food available. “We thought that we’d have more access to great organic food, and it turned out we actually had more access to it in the city,” says Preston. So when they started growing it themselves, they realized there was a demand for it. whaT happeNed To all The farms?

“The trend toward industrial farming was a result of very deliberate policy decisions made in Canada and the United States saying, basically, that farmers had to get big or get out,” says Preston. As well, the pursuit of free trade deals means farmers in Canada have to compete all over the world when they are growing crops. “A lot of the government regulations around inspections and food safety favour really big operations. We’ve seen virtually all of our small-scale abattoirs and slaughterhouses disappear, along with egg-grading stations. There used to be one in every community; now there are just a handful in very large facilities.” That’s not all. “We’re addicted to cheap food, and it is a self-fulfilling prophecy,” he says. “With fewer farmers and more consumers, the balance tipped in the market and who the government was going to serve.” So cheap food became the imperative, and people didn’t care how or where it was being produced. Nor did they worry about the impact that cheap food had on the environment or on the

welfare of farm workers and farmers, he adds. It’s something that all of us have contributed to.

For Gillian and me, the act of farming has always been a political act, so we’re trying to run a farm business that is sustainable, economically viable, and build community, too.

a farm whose TIme has come

Now, 13 years later, the New Farm is a successful business. It’s busy, with distributors picking up produce all the time. “There is tons of demand for our product,” says Preston. This year, they are struggling to keep up because it’s growing all the time. “I think a big part of it is timing. We talk about the good food movement that’s gaining traction with people seeking out good local food — they’re starting to care about how food is produced and understand the impact of food on the climate and the environment,” he says. Add to this the fact that food culture has changed enormously over the past 10 or 15 years. The term “foodie” wasn’t even commonly bounced around until a few decades ago. “Ten years ago, no one would think of working in a kitchen as a glam or celebrity-worthy occupation, and now we idolize chefs who are celebrities with notoriety,” he adds. Preston suggests that it’s all of these trends that have made farms such as his more viable, as they all contribute to building more of a market for the kind of food they produce, and more people are willing to pay for attributes that aren’t readily apparent when they’re sitting on a store shelf or on a plate in a restaurant. Don’t be misled, though. “It’s still a super-challenging occupation, and it’s certainly not the easiest way to make money. But farms like ours work now, and it’s because of all these broader changes, because of this whole good food movement that’s more broadly defined.” When Preston says it’s not the easiest way to make money, he’s not kidding. Any way you look at it, it is hard work. “When we first started, it was a lot more physical labour for us,” he says. “We didn’t have any staff, we didn’t have any people working for us, so we were just out working the fields, planting, weeding, washing and harvesting — all this manual labour, all the time.” Now they have employees doing that, a crew of nine workers, and Brent Aug/Sept 2017

City Life Magazine




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1. Tasty Jade cucumbers, a Japanese variety, growing in one of farm’s greenhouses 2. The New Farm holds an annual food and music fundraiser called Farms for Change 3. Some of the many Toronto chefs who feature the New Farm’s produce on their menus 4. Chefs pose in a field of rye during a fundraiser 5. Heirloom potatoes that are bright red, inside and out. 6. The New Farm has raised over half a million dollars for organizations like the Stop in Toronto 7. Co-owner Gillian Flies harvests salad greens by hand 8. Rows of lettuce go from field to restaurant in less than 24 hours 9. The Farms for Change event has featured the Sam Roberts Band, Sloan and the Tragically Hip

7 9

Photos Courtesy oF the neW FarM



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Aug/Sept 2017

and Gillian are working all the time keeping everyone organized, loading trucks, making sales calls and working the tractor. “We are just going from 7 o’clock in the morning to 7 o’clock at night, six days a week,” he says. According to Preston, everyone knows that physical work is necessary on a farm, but it’s the crucial organization of everything that takes a lot of time. “You’re on your toes all the time, figuring out how you’re going to accomplish what you’re going to do, prioritizing and figuring out what tasks are the most immediately important,” says Preston. “I go to bed at night with my head hurting a lot of the time.” The “aha!” momeNT

For Brent and Gillian, the most important moment in the evolution of the farm came about three or four years ago, when they achieved financial success. “We had paid off most of our debt, so it took about seven years to become profitable,” says Preston. “We had struggled with that for so long, and when that happened, I always thought that there would be this moment of euphoria, but then I realized that it wasn’t the most important thing.” Preston says they had given up a lot. “We had focused so much on profitability and making it a viable business that we had given up too much to achieve it, physically wearing down our bodies. It took a really big toll on our marriage, and we had a moment at the end of that season when we decided, “Let’s not grow any more [than this].” And that was a good decision, he adds, so they could focus on all of the other things they had let go: family, friends and community, and making their food more accessible to more people. “That has had a profound impact on our business and our ability to continue to do what we are doing,” he adds. “Now we realize that we’re not making more money year after year, but we’re making enough money, and we are diverting our energy toward things that matter even more than money.” Giving back is important for both of them. Every year, the New Farm hosts a huge fundraiser for Toronto’s the Stop Community Food Centre, a food bank and community kitchen

Now our fundraising has grown to the point where we’re also supporting Community Food Centres Canada, trying to spread the model to communities all over Canada, and some of our retailers donate a portion of profit back to the Stop.

that uses food to help connect communities. “We’ve helped them create connections between lowincome urban communities and farmers who are struggling themselves to have that opportunity for their food,” says Preston. “Now our fundraising has grown to the point where we’re also supporting Community Food Centres Canada, trying to spread the model to communities all over Canada, and some of our retailers donate a portion of profit back to the Stop.” Every year, their fundraising efforts generate about $125,000 for the Stop. All of this paying it forward and good stewardship started out as simply a desire to make good food more accessible to more people, says Preston. “There are so many great people who have gotten involved and so many people who want to be a part of it. It’s really neat, the way these things can grow.” The campsITe rule

At the New Farm, they like to keep it simple. They use technology for communication with clients, figuring out when things need to be planted, and record-keeping, which is especially important in farming. But overall, it’s pretty low-tech. “The only mechanization we use is one small tractor for preparing the ground for planting, and everything else is done by hand. Most of the tools we use have been around in one form or another for at least 100 years.” And when you’re down in the dirt on your hands and knees a lot, you find artifacts that remind you of the people who farmed the land before you. “We find horseshoes and buckles and bits of harness and things. Our farm was cleared maybe 130 years ago, and out of that time, the majority of that time, this farm has been farmed with horsepower and human power,” says Preston. Once, he found a stainless-steel lighter that had the monogram of the man who farmed the place in the 1950s. “We find lots of things that remind us that we are stewards of the land, and that this land, which was farmed for centuries before we got it, will continue to be farmed for centuries if we farm it sustainably,” he says. “So we have a Aug/Sept 2017

City Life Magazine


For Brent Preston and his wife, Gillian Flies, at the New Farm, they look to produce the best quality organic vegetables and cultivate them in a way that improves the overall environment and the community

responsibility to pass it on in a better state than we found it in.” Brent and Gillian are not alone. “It’s very satisfying; we’ve always sought to do business with people who share our values, and there are a lot of those kinds of businesses around,” says Preston. There are a lot of people in the world who are doing well by doing good, he adds. “They’re all interested in so much more than just making money — they’re great businesspeople and they’re great entrepreneurs, but I think a big part of that is that they care about a lot of other stuff, too.” gIfTs from The laNd

Farming has changed Preston as a human being. “It’s made me a little bit more willing to take things as they come. With farming, there are so many different things that are out of your control — the weather, fluctuations in the market — and so many variables that can go wrong that if you’re trying to control everything and stressing out all the time, you’ll just drive yourself crazy.” It’s made him a little less Type A and a little more willing to sit back and take things as they come. As for the kids (Foster, 16, and Ella, 14), they were so young when they moved to the farm that they don’t remember anything else. But now they’re at the age when a part of them 34

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wants to get away from the farm. “They want to be in town with their friends, and they sometimes resent the isolation of being out on the farm; it can be very isolating,” says Preston. “But I think they also have a sense of security on the farm, a sense of home that is really important to them.” The kids help with growing food for the family, but not the commercial operation. “It’s strange because everyone always asks, ‘Do your kids help out on the farm?’ But you wouldn’t ask a lawyer if the kids help out in the law firm,” says Preston. Neither of the kids has a strong interest in farming now, “because they’ve seen how hard it is!” says Preston. “But even if they were interested, I’d want them to try other things. Go away and experience other places, and then, if they want to come back in the future and work or farm around here, then that’s great.” That’s one of the things that Brent and Gillian love to do with their kids: travel in the wintertime. “Gillian and I met overseas, and we’ve introduced our kids to other places, too,” he adds. What do they do for fun? “Not enough!” says Preston. “But in the summertime, we love cooking and eating, so we like having friends over here for a big dinner on the front porch — and sometimes we get to steal away once in a while to a friend’s cottage.”

whaT’s comINg dowN The pIpelINe

The big change on the farm is that they’ve put in a little event space and a commercial kitchen on the farm. “It’s starting to give us more of an opportunity to make a closer connection to the chefs who make our food and to people who eat our food,” he says. Finished last summer, the kitchen has been put to good use hosting fundraising dinners. “Last week, we had chefs from the Chase and La Colette restaurants come up to do a dinner for 100 people, with proceeds going to SickKids hospital in Toronto,” says Preston. They want to start holding cooking classes that end with everyone eating a big meal together, to showcase the food and the chefs. With a guy like Preston, one has to wonder what his favourite meal is. “That’s easy,” he says. “In the summertime, we make some fresh pasta — sometimes we make it ourselves and sometimes we buy it — we pick pattypan squash, which are little zucchini, and tomatoes, onions and garlic all out of the garden. It goes straight onto a cookie sheet and into the oven and we roast it, adding a little bit of salt and olive oil. We have those roasted vegetables over pasta, and that’s it.”


TurNINg The page

wants to tell everyone the story of the New Farm. And so, he wrote a book (The New Farm, Random House Canada, 2017). Why now? “We’re trying to connect people more closely to this kind of agriculture and get more people out on the farm, to understand that this is viable and that they should support it,” he says. “That’s one of our big focuses moving forward, and the book is part of it as well.” It’s an honest and funny read detailing Brent and Gillian’s move to the country to start their farm and a lot of the mistakes they made. In the chapter “Castration,” Preston explains why it’s important to castrate male pigs as soon as they’re weaned from their mother, otherwise testosterone can cause “boar taint.” In the chapter “Los Muchachos,” he describes the

process of hiring migrant workers from Mexico to work on the farm. The book concludes with a love letter of acknowledgments. “Gillian and I want to tell people the story of the farm and help them understand that this kind of farming is a real option.” The real goal of the book, Preston says, is to encourage other people getting into farming as an occupation to try it and to encourage consumers to care about how their food is produced and seek out the kind of food grown on the New Farm. “You can spend your whole life reading about how screwed up our whole agricultural system is, but we kind of avoided all that really heavy-handed stuff and said, ‘Let’s just tell our story and try to send the message that this kind of farming really can work.”

Our industrial food system is destroying our environment, hijacking our climate, making us fat and sick and unhappy. It’s a huge, overwhelming, complex, multifaceted problem — but the good news is that there is a huge, complex, multi-faceted movement underway to fix things.

— Brent Preston, The New Farm

Aug/Sept 2017

City Life Magazine


The New farm by breNT presToN

Late that fall, at the end of our fifth season of farming, I made the drive to Hanover to see our friend Gerald Poechman, the organic egg farmer, to pick up some feed for the hens we were keeping over the winter. After we had bagged and loaded the feed, we stood around the back of my pickup and talked, like we always did. I told Gerald about the changes we were seeing in the farmers’ market and among our restaurant clients, about how people in all walks of life were starting to make the connection between the food they ate, their own health and the health of the planet. I told him that I thought we were reaching a tipping point, where real change in our food system was possible. And I told him that all these changes had conspired to create the conditions where our little farm, using mostly hand tools and a workforce of committed, idealistic young people, could actually turn a profit. Gerald smiled. “I always knew you could do it,” he said. Then Gerald told me about the changes he was seeing in his community. He told me about the conventional egg farmer down the road whose laying barn was so highly automated that he could offer his lone worker only twenty hours of work a week. He had recently doubled the size of his operation, to a hundred thousand hens, so he could bring his hired man on full-time. The worker spent most of his day walking the rows of cages, taking out dead birds. Everything else was done by machine. Gerald also told me that many of his conventional neighbours were cutting down the trees and ripping out the fencerows between their fields to accommodate even larger machinery. They were using enormous sprayers with 60-foot booms that could cover an acre of crops with pesticide in a matter of seconds. The landscape was being transformed into massive, unbroken fields, hundreds of acres of perfect, sterile monoculture. Globalized commodity markets and razor-thin margins meant fewer and fewer farmers and bigger and bigger farms. “You’re part of a tiny little 36

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This book has timely and important things to say about food and farming and building a more sustainable future, but it's also a fantastic story about the new economy, a textbook case of doing good. The New Farm should be required reading for every Canadian entrepreneur.

— Arlene Dickinson, businesswoman, author, co-host of Dragon’s Den

segment of agriculture that is moving in the right direction,” Gerald told me. “The rest is hurtling in the opposite direction, as fast as it can.” As I drove home through the rolling hills along Grey County Road 4, I turned over Gerald’s words in my head. We had started our farm with a mission to prove that a small farm could be both profitable and sustainable. We had finally succeeded on the profitability side, sort of. Our Season Five sales had grown only modestly over Season Four. We had made enough to cover all our farm expenses and to live for a year, but only because our living expenses were so low. We didn’t spend much money because we were working pretty much all the time. But on the sustainability side, I suddenly realized, we had failed miserably. I truly believed that our farm was ecologically sustainable — our soil was improving each year, we had planted thousands of trees on the farm, our solar panels made us self-sufficient in electricity and we didn’t burn a lot of diesel — but we had been thinking of sustainability far too narrowly. For our farm to be truly sustainable, it had to sustain Gillian and me physically, intellectually and emotionally; it had to provide both a livelihood and a life. Our farm had to protect and enhance not only our air, water, soil and wildlife, but also our family. For our farm to be sustainable, it had to be sustainable for us. And at that point it wasn’t. There was no way we were going to build a new model of agriculture that required farmers to destroy their bodies, ruin their marriages, forsake their intellectual interests and cut themselves off from their friends and family in order to turn a meagre profit. No one was going to leave the city and follow in our footsteps if they saw the amount of work and stress that we had gone through for the past five years, and we certainly weren’t going to convince any conventional farmers that we had figured out a better way. “The rest of agriculture is hurtling in the opposite direction,” Gerald had said. If we were going to make real change, we needed a viable alternative. And at that moment, despite five years of grinding toil, our farm wasn’t it.

beretta farms:

Doing the Right Thing Comes Naturally

Sensing a trend to healthy eating decades ago turned Beretta Farms from a 100-acre property to a Canadawide movement of 40 ranchers embracing organic farming — for the betterment of us all

Photo By jesse milns

Written By Rick Muller

From a 100-acre property in Huron County, to now more than 40 ranches in six provinces (and two countries), Mike and Cynthia Beretta have made the Beretta Farms’ name omnipresent

Aug/Sept 2017

City Life Magazine


Photo courtesy of Beretta farms


wenty-five years ago in 1992, few people were as curious about where their food came from as they are today, but two who were ahead of the curve were Cynthia and Mike Beretta, who took their curiosity a step further and turned it into control. In that year they started Beretta Farms with the purchase of a 100-acre property in Huron County, where they took a then-new approach toward organically raised animals, beginning a commitment to producing healthy alternatives for families. Beretta Farms now has become one of Canada’s top producers of organically raised animals. “We had young kids, and the thought of buying store-bought meat that had hormones and steroids seemed very foreign to us, so we started raising animals,” says Cynthia Beretta. “We wanted to know where our food came from and being in control of that was really important to us, and feeding ourselves and our family healthy food 38

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was essential. As we started to do it, more and more of our family and friends wanted to be a part of what we were doing and started buying our products. We seemed to be in the right place at the right time.” It was helpful that Beretta was raised in the country by her Italian parents on some acreage where her mother had a large garden, exposing her to the benefits of growing your own organic food from scratch. Her parents also had a barn, but they did not farm — until Beretta asked her dad to put some pigs in the barn and started to raise them. When she began dating Mike, he was reminded of his childhood passion for visiting pig farms, wanting only to spend time with the pigs and clean out pens. “When we started our first farm, it wasn’t to start a company,” Beretta recalls. “It was just doing something we believed in, and it just grew. Other people wanted to make a change in their lives, and we offered another option for them.”

Farm life was not without its setbacks, but from misfortune grew strength and relationships. In October of 1995 a devastating fire cost them their barn and their entire family of livestock. The following spring, the local Mennonite community came out and rebuilt the Beretta barn with a traditional barnraising, beginning a lifelong relationship with the Beretta family. Great success followed that tragic event for Beretta Farms, to the extent that they opened the Beretta Butcher Shop in Brussels, Ont., and their products began to be found on local restaurant menus. “The butcher shop seemed like a logical next step for us,” says Beretta. “If we were to be spending all of this time and effort growing animals organically and ethically, we wanted to harvest them in the most humane manner possible. This gave us control over the entire process.” With their success, they realized they required a larger farm near a large urban area and purchased 800 acres of

Photos By jesse milns

Beretta Farms’ cattle are humanely raised in Canada without the use of antibiotics, hormones, steroids or GMOs

Photo courtesy of Beretta farms

Beretta Farms believes in nurturing its animals like the Beretta’s do with their own family — with compassion, care and commitment

prime agricultural land in King City. This proved to be the right choice, as by 2006 Beretta was making regular deliveries to large banner retailers along with a growing number of independent health food stores and grocers. Today, Beretta Farms’ products can be found at Loblaws, Metro, Whole Foods and Pusateri’s, among many other stores, while restaurant chains such as Chipotle, A&W and Earls feature their organically grown meats. In 2011 they began a catering operation out of their Etobicoke head office, Beretta Kitchen, which counts the Toronto Maple Leafs and visiting Major League Baseball teams among its many clients. “The food industry has been changing rapidly in the last decade,” observes Beretta. “As the pace of life quickened, food became very commercialized. In the last few years we’ve recognized a resurgence of people wanting to know where their food comes from. It seems like food is sexy again. We’re finding

We wanted to know where our food came from, and being in control of that was really important to us.

— Cynthia Beretta

that people want to get to know their local farmer or where the restaurant they frequent is sourcing its food.” As the popularity of animals raised organically and without the use of antibiotics, added hormones or steroids increased, it allowed Beretta Farms to expand its product line and list of retail partners and restaurants. But there was only so much one farm in King City could do, so to keep up with market demand, Cynthia and Mike reached out to other ranching families in Canada who were like-minded in their approach to organic farming. Today, the Beretta Farms “family” totals more than 40 ranches, from Ontario to the west coast, that Cynthia and Mike know and trust for their approach and their quality. “We’re very proud that we keep farmers farming,” says Beretta. “Canadian farmers are hard-working people and proud of what they do, and we’re proud to support them.” Aug/Sept 2017

City Life Magazine


Successful real-estate developer Shane Baghai brings the same degree of precision and quality to his other passion, Paradise Farms


City Life Magazine

Aug/Sept 2017

Shane Baghai’S ParadiSe FarmS:

The Rural Passion of an Urban Builder Paradise Farms may now be recognized as breeding and raising the finest organic beef in Canada, but for Shane Baghai, its product is passionate and its origins are deeply personal Written By Rick Muller

Photo By roBin gartner


hane Baghai has always conducted his business ad m i rably a nd w it h confidence. His high ethics, hard work and expertise have resulted in his enviable reputation as one of Canada’s most respected builders and real estate developers of luxury homes and high-end condominiums. He brings those same principles to another of his passions as owner of Paradise Farms, where he has been breeding rare cattle and marketing organic beef since 2008. Paradise Farms is now widely recognized as raising the finest beef in Canada. “There is only one way to do things, and that is to do them right,” says Baghai. “There is no place in business for cutting corners; to me that is just inconceivable. My construction activities I have cherished all my business life, and at the same time I am delighted I have the farming business, which is completely different — but the same philosophy applies to both businesses, which is to produce quality at its highest.” Aside from the quality and taste of cattle that are naturally grass-raised, grain-fed and free to roam from pasture to pasture to feed, there was another, more personal reason Baghai took this more expensive approach to breeding cattle. He lost his mother to breast cancer, and his wife and his sister are both survivors.

“I started reading about nutritionists’ opinions about beef consumption, in particular for women who had breast cancer,” says Baghai. “Their concern was [that] implanting artificial hormones in beef cattle to make them bigger, faster, would have an adverse effect on the recovery of certain breast cancer victims, and in some cases contribute to the cause. Almost all oncologists recommend against beef that was implanted with artificial hormones. This is what prompted me to think about raising animals in a natural way, without any intervention or augmentation by introducing artificial hormones. Everything about our operations is natural.” From modest beginnings with just five cattle in 2008, Paradise Farms’ herd now numbers close to 2,000 head spread over six locations in southern Ontario, including close to 400 head at its Caledon location on Shaws Creek Road, which Baghai explains is basically a cattle farm for experimenting with superior genetics. “I spent a lot of time looking for a replacement to growth hormones and spoke with many bovine species experts, and I was convinced we could have a fast-growing animal that would gain weight through genetics, which is simply breeding,” explains Baghai. “We are not manipulating the genes or the DNA of the animals; we are simply

selecting the right bull for the right cow, which my barn manager Rob Hassan is an expert at. It’s very similar to the marriage of two certain people which might, through genetics, result in their having taller kids.” Most impressive at Paradise Farms is its Animal Welfare Program. All of the cattle are supervised by animal science specialists, with regular visits by veterinarians. But the care for and comfort of the animals does not stop there. Any animal brought in from elsewhere goes immediately into quarantine for a period of time, and any sick animal is segregated from the others. It even extends to transportation, as Paradise does not overcrowd its trucks and has strict rules for the sanitation of the trucks themselves. “The comfort and happiness of these animals is of paramount importance to us,” says Baghai. The Paradise Farms herd is comprised of two exceedingly rare breeds in Canada — black Japanese Wagyu and the long-legged, white Italian Chianina — along with Scottish Highland cattle and North America’s most popular breed, the Aberdeen Black Angus. “Angus are the most coveted by farmers, as they are resilient to different climates and diseases, calf very easily without assistance by the farmer or vet, are calm in character, and grow faster Aug/Sept 2017

City Life Magazine


and gain weight faster than other breeds of bovine species,” explains Baghai. In 2012, Paradise Farms was recognized by the American Angus Hall of Fame as the best breeder of Aberdeen Black Angus in all of North America. Baghai likes to point out that there is no room at the farm for any more prizes. “I think we’ve flourished because of the smart retailers in the marketplace,” says Baghai. “Metro was one of the first retailers that recognized the quality we were supplying and that our beef was local and we were not in the practice of implanting hormones. They researched, visited us and did their due diligence before they committed to us. Metro is one of our biggest customers, and quality and safety mean a lot to them.” One of the most notable achievements at Paradise Farms is its firm commitment to all things local. “How we farm is that everything is local,” says Baghai. “The animal feed, the hay, the grains all must be local; that helps local employment, and that is very important to me. It is the 42

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Aug/Sept 2017

The comfort and happiness of these animals is of paramount importance to us.

duty of every Canadian to promote local companies. Canada does a very good job at protecting farmland near big cities, and locally grown food requires less transportation, which is better for the environment. I am an advocate for the environment — we have solar panels, a windmill and LED lighting at the farm. We do many things solely [for our goal] of protecting the environment.” Paradise Farms is yet another example of Shane Baghai doing his proper research and due diligence in embracing a possible opportunity and following through with hard work and dedication to his passion. As for his legacy in farming and construction, he isn’t worried, as his children are very involved and interested in both lines of work. “I don’t have an exit strategy because I don’t intend to die — yet,” laughs Baghai. “But I think both businesses will fall into the right hands. Any legend should be about doing things right, and the philosophy should be protected.”

Photo By roBin gartner

The Paradise Farm herd consists of the long-legged, white Chianina, the black Japanese Wagyu, Scottish Highland cattle and the prominent Aberdeen Black Angus, all grass fed and grain finished without the use of hormones

When Yorkshire Valley’s founding families established the company, they did so with the intent of providing the best in organically grown products — most notably, poultry

Setting industry standards regarding organic farming for the poultry business may have been game-changing, but for Yorkshire Valley Farms, it was simply the right thing to do

photo by Johnny C y Lam


Organically Grown Food at its Best Written By Rick Muller

Aug/Sept 2017

City Life Magazine


photos Courtesy of yorkshire vaLLey farms

The Yorkshire Valley family has grown since its inception, from the original Ahrens and Ambler families, to an additional four families operating under the Yorkshire name


rue industry leaders take the initiative and set standards for others to follow. Such is the case with Yorkshire Valley Farms’ organic approach to raising chickens and turkeys and its launching an organic, pasture-raised egg program for 2017. For many years, Peterborough’s Yorkshire Valley Farms has raised freeroaming hens in smaller flocks on a network of farms throughout southern Ontario that think organically. The pasture-raised, organic eggs come from hens that spend a minimum of six hours outdoors each day foraging on organically managed pastures. They are grain-fed with no genetically modified grains, raised without antibiotics, and are pesticide- and herbicide-free, with no animal by-products. Yorkshire Valley Farms intentionally set out to create a set of industry standards to which all participating pasture farmers must adhere. While this leadership role is indeed impressive, for Yorkshire Valley Farms, it was more about doing the right thing. “We very much believe in the adage that ‘you are what you eat,’” says Krysten Cooper, Yorkshire Valley Farms’ director of strategy and sustainability. “I think people are more curious today about where their 44

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food is coming from, and organic aligns with many principles which are important to many people. Personally, I find that type of food just tastes better and is a better overall food experience, both in consistency and in flavour.” Yorkshire Valley Farms came about when the Ahrens and Ambler families, both independent poultry farmers in the Peterborough area for many years, realized that merging would provide them with the size and scale required to service larger retailers. They could also better expand a network of farmers who shared their desire to grow organically. The original founding farmers have since passed daily operations on to the next generations of their families. Today, Yorkshire Valley Farms produces and markets fresh and frozen organic poultry products, including chicken, turkey and eggs, and has grown to become one of Canada’s leading organic poultry companies. Today, the company’s products are available at such fine retailers as Summerhill Market, Coppa’s Fresh Market, Fiesta Farms, Longo’s, Metro, Sobeys in Peterborough, Fortinos and Real Canadian Superstore, among many others. The chickens and turkeys of Yorkshire Valley Farms and its network all feed on a grain-based diet of wheat, corn, soy and other nutrients to balance out their

nutritional needs. Since no antibiotics or medications are used on the flocks, it’s important the birds stay very healthy. The farmers also adhere to a standard of offering a pasture of 20 square feet per hen. When consumers buy a Yorkshire Valley Farms product labelled “pasture,” they know that it comes from animals that have truly spent time outdoors during the warmer Ontario season of May through October, foraging on pastures. Of interest to consumers would be a 2016 CBC Marketplace report. The authoritative television program conducted a nutritional analysis of a range of eggs and found that eggs from hens that spend time on pasture have higher concentrations of fat-soluble vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids. In particular, eggs from Yorkshire Valley Farms growers had more than double the amount of vitamin D and 3.5 times more vitamin E. With various studies on organically grown foods ongoing, Cooper offers a reminder about the newness of this approach. “Organically grown food is an emerging field still in its infancy, and we are all learning and growing with it.” Yorkshire Valley Farms will continue to lead in that learning and growing for the many benefits organic food offers its customers.

From our hands to yours Gourmet, hand-picked Produce, Meats & an extensive selection of organics in a grocer that’s conveniently located in the heart of Bolton

501 Queen Street South Bolton, Ontario


Aug/Sept 2017

City Life Magazine


A dv e r to r i A l

A New Hospice A New Centre of Excellence


ince 1995, Hospice Vaughan has operated grief and bereavement support, volunteer outreach and palliative care services out of their quaint Woodbridge Avenue location. Fast-forward 20 years and Vaughan has become one of the most rapidly growing cities in Canada with a large aging population, further demonstrating the need for a larger facility to service more individuals and families. “A key linchpin within any city or region is a residential hospice, and there are currently no residential palliative care beds in Vaughan,” says Dr. Vincent Maida, palliative medicine specialist and


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Aug/Sept 2017

Hospice Vaughan board member. Hospice palliative care is a philosophy of care that is offered to any patient with an advanced incurable disease to aid in the relief of suffering from the day of diagnosis. As Dr. Maida explains, hospice palliative care is the most universal need of all citizens. “One hundred per cent of us are going to need hospice palliative care, and the presence of a new facility will equate to improve access and hospice palliative care. Furthermore, the availability of a comprehensive residential hospice will translate into quantum savings for the overall healthcare system,” says Dr. Maida.

According to reports, the cost per day of palliative care in an acute-care hospital bed is $1,100, signficantly more than the $460 per day for hospice care. The presence of the anticipated new facility will also help to alleviate congestion at the future Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital through much-needed robust and comprehensive hospice palliative care programs. The new 25,000-square-foot Hospice Vaughan facility is expected to open its doors in 2019, and it will host 10 residential beds and include numerous additions to the hospice’s current menu of essential services. The new building will also hold a Centre of Excellence to

photo courtesy of hospice vaughan

Hospice Vaughan normalizes one of the most natural parts of life, opening the lines of communication about death and offering a number of programs that support the psychosocial and emotional wellness of individuals and their families as they journey through a terminal diagnosis. The hospice is expanding its reach with a new, much-needed hospice palliative care facility in Vaughan, and it seeks the community’s support.

Help us build it. 10 Beds 25,000 ft2 palliative care transformed

photos by carlos a. pinto

Hospice vaughan is planning the city’s first 10-bed residential hospice. the state-of-the-art facility will include additional family support and bereavement services, visiting hospice services and adequate facilities to conduct research and educate health-care professionals

promote and support inter-professional research, education and knowledge translation. “By putting it on the map with a huge physical presence and government support, we’ll be able to maintain our philosophy of quality care, along with additional bereavement and family support services,” says Wendy Graham, manager of hospice services at Hospice Vaughan. Unlike a hospital, what makes Hospice Vaughan so integral and unique is its support for caregivers and families of terminally ill individuals. “We have such an unsung number of caregivers in the home that desperately need the support before they become patients themselves,” says Graham. Hospice Vaughan offers unique courses and therapies tailored to caregivers, as well as children’s grief programs and a Caring Hands Day

Program that welcomes individuals with a terminal diagnosis and their caregivers for a weekly social gathering. These are a handful of the many supports offered to individuals and families affected by a life-limiting illness. “Through education, communication and by maintaining a really professional, well-trained staff, we’re able to offer such well-rounded services,” says Graham. Hospice Vaughan wants to do more. The organization aims to offer better end-of-life care and better support for families, caregivers and friends, along with promoting an increased awareness and understanding of the hospice palliative care philosophy. “Everyone deserves three things: a good birth, a good life and a good death,” says Dr. Maida. With the government only supporting approximately 40 cents of every dollar of expenditures, Hospice Vaughan hopes

that the support of the community will help the new facility come to fruition and become the hub of hospice palliative care for the City of Vaughan and beyond. “We talk about needing a whole village to raise a child, we need to carry that mentality forward and use that whole village to help a person die a dignified death and support the whole family,” says Graham. Donations and support for Hospice Vaughan can be pledged on the organization’s website.

31 Woodbridge Ave., Vaughan,Ont. 905-850-6266 Aug/Sept 2017

City Life Magazine



La Paloma is

The BesT Of The BesT for Italian Gelato

One would be hard-pressed to find a local gelatiere with more passion for his business and gusto for his product than owner Salvatore Giannone. Ever wonder how a gelato shop survives 50 years in a city that sees two months of summer? City Life Magazine gets the scoop on Giannone’s secret to success and what it means to him to be a proud Canadian entrepreneur.


n a reflection of Italy’s culinary attributes, there are many foods and flavours that can be vigorously debated as being the “most Italian.” For 50 years in southern Ontario there has been no doubt to the customers of La Paloma that a fine Italian gelato paired with a rich espresso speaks perfect Italian to them. La Paloma Authentic Gelateria and Café has been the preferred destination for those who appreciate a celebrated Italian tradition of the ultimate in delicious gelato prepared with authentic methods, and the very definition of an entrepreneurial business in the spirit, style and approach of its day-to-dayoperations. Many older customers today have been coming to La Paloma for close to five decades. “When it started it used to be just a 48

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men’s café for socializing in the Italian tradition, but in 1998 we turned La Paloma into an establishment for the entire family,” says co-owner Salvatore Giannone. “I was friends with the original owners when I came on board in 1988 and was serving coffees. I began to learn the business of making ice cream by myself. You learn very well that way because there is no other school that can teach you like yourself.” Giannone took over as an owner in 1990 and La Paloma has never looked back. Founded in 1967, its original location was in the west end of Corso Italia on St. Clair Avenue West in Toronto, but it expanded to Woodbridge in 2001 and, most recently, to an outlet in Yorkdale Mall in 2012. From its original six or seven flavours on offer, customers now have a bounty of more

than 75 gelato flavours to choose from, the most in Toronto. Many customers are attracted simply by the wide variety of flavours available. In a remarkable nod to the obvious, Giannone simply says that all the flavours are successful. “If they’re not, we don’t carry them anymore.” Tradition is central to the success of La Paloma, which creates its gelatos with classic Italian methods, allowing for more intense flavouring and a smoother, softer texture. Without giving away secrets, he says slow churning speeds create a dense, f lavourful finished product known for its incredible depth. For Giannone, it is a hands-on business that is a labour of love. “I open up the Woodbridge store every morning, take inventory and shop as needed,” says Giannone. “Then I go

Photo by carlos a. Pinto

Interview By Rebecca Alberico Written By Rick Muller

La Paloma proudly offers over 75 traditional and unique flavours of gelato. Giannone has even developed special flavours for his grandsons and his wife. However, he admits pistachio is still the overwhelming favourite

Aug/Sept 2017

City Life Magazine


THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS! On Sunday, May 28, 2017, 200 riders particiapted in the Villa Charities 11th annual Giro at Eagles Nest Golf Club in Maple. Thank you to all our sponsors, donors, volunteers, partners and riders who helped make this event a success!

Lead Sponsor

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Bike Sponsors & Technical Partners

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Rest Stop Sponsors Agincourt Roofing Limited Airway Systems Ltd. Aspen Ridge Homes Belant Construction Inc. Brampton Brick Limited Brattys LLP Brusan Heating and Air Conditioning Ltd. Cardinal Sales Carlson Wagonlit Victor Travel Casino Marketing Group Con-Elco Ltd. Creaghan McConnell Group Delta Urban Inc. DenBok Landscaping & Design Ltd. First Choice Tickets Forsa Equipment Repair Inc. Frank DeLuca Royal LePage Real Estate Services Garibaldi Landscaping Ltd. Gemini Designs Inc.

In-Kind Sponsors

Global Tile Contractors & Design Inc. Goemans Appliances Hi-Tech Paving & Contracting Inc. Independent Mechanical Supply Inc. Index Construction Inc. JB Aluminum Products Ltd. KLM Planning Partners Inc. Mansteel Limited Marcotto Mechanical Contractors Inc. Marel Contractors Metrus Properties Nak Design Strategies Nature’s Call Nelmar Drywall Ltd. New Generation Group Next Supply Novus Fire Protection Consulting Inc. OTS Electric Ltd. Oakdale Kitchens Ltd. Paradise Developments

Profile Wine Group Rady-Pentek & Edward Surveying Ltd. Rand Engineering Corporation RMG Contract Interiors Inc. Soil Engineers Ltd. Spectrum Realty Services Inc. Studio Lagree Titan Concrete Limited Toronto Redi-Mix Ltd. Treasure Hill Homes Vanguard Investments Canada Inc. Venturo Glazing Inc. York Marble

Donations Cosmic Design Glen Schnarr & Associates Inc. M.A.M Group 50

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Aug/Sept 2017

Allmart Distributing Athlete’s Care BRITA CLIF Bar Essence Food Services Fit Food Gee Wizz Portable Toilets Johnson & Johnson Lady York Foods Love Gelato Pizza Nova Pizzaville Quality Cheese Villa Colombo Vaughan

Charitable Registration No. 89337 0767 RR0001

Photo by carlos a. Pinto

The gelato hotspot has become an intergenerational tradition for local families. It makes Giannone happy to see longtime customers, who have been coming since they were kids, now bringing their own families

to the St. Clair location to ensure everything is OK, then to Yorkdale. In the summertime, it’s 15 to 16 hours a day, seven days a week, but I don’t mind, I’m very happy.” The laid-back atmosphere at La Paloma always leaves customers satisfied, and its commitment to customer service clearly sets it apart. But, of course, it is the outstanding product that has kept thousands coming back over the past 50 years. La Paloma has dedicated itself to quality, exercising tremendous care and using only the finest available ingredients to provide what customers always expect: consistently great-tasting gelato. Giannone arrived from Palermo, Sicily, on September 4, 1963, at the age of 19 and as one of five brothers. He was originally a tailor in the Spadina and College area of Toronto for 24 years. He has been married for 50 years this year and is the proud father of one son. Two of his three grandsons are already coming in to help at La Paloma from time to time, carrying on a rich family tradition and even suggesting some new flavours based upon their kid-friendly palates, which enjoy Oreo cookies, s’mores and Smarties candies. “I love Italy, and Italy is always in my heart,” says Giannone. “But I must admit I believe Canada is the best country in the world. From my experience, I see it as the land of opportunity.” It’s not just Canadians and Torontonians who adore La Paloma, as its success has spread to Europe and even Hollywood royalty. “We always have many famous Italian singers in our St. Clair location when they are in town for the CHIN Picnic,” says Giannone, who also gets a lot of business during TIFF, with such stars as Robert De Niro, Richard Gere and Sylvester Stallone among the dedicated converts. “Gere was having dinner at a downtown restaurant, but for his dessert, [he] sent his driver to La Paloma to pick up a big bucket of soya gelato.” As for the secret of his success, Giannone wastes few words. “In this life, you become successful if you do something you really love and have a true passion for.” For himself and his customers, that is La Paloma.

Aug/Sept 2017

City Life Magazine





Michael B jewellery exclusive available at Casa D’oro Jewellers

8750 Jane Street, unit 21. Vaughan, Ontario 905-597-6144 - -

casadoroWBFW16.indd 1

16-05-26 1:55 PM

83 Whitmore Rd., Woodbridge, Ont.



City Life Magazine

Aug/Sept 2017


Photo courtesy of stoney creek furniture

A dv e r to r i A l

The Store with Style Since 1969, Stoney Creek Furniture has committed itself to not only providing superior customer service, but also offering a variety of stylish furnishings for every room in your home that keeps you coming back for more


Photos by carlos a. Pinto

toney Creek Furniture believes that how you choose to furnish your home should be a direct reflection of your personality, which is why one of the largest Canadian furniture showrooms carries the most unique collection of handpicked furnishings from manufacturers worldwide. The store features a number of well-known international and local Canadian brands that focus equally on style, comfort and functionality. When president Jim Fee started with the company 38 years ago as a delivery driver, he instantly anticipated the longevity of the brand, noting its dedication to maintaining quality

“ We want

to help you create a beautiful home.

— Jim Fee, President

the vaughan showroom features fully accessorized room displays that show off styles ranging from edgy and fun to sleek and contemporary.

relationships with customers. Because the staff is not driven by commission, the Stoney Creek sales team is able to spend valuable time with each client, asking the important questions that will help determine the best pieces for them in a “no pressure” environment. Now with two locations, its five-timeslarger flagship store in Stoney Creek and its new footprint showroom in Vaughan, Stoney Creek Furniture continues to introduce new and innovative collections while maintaining the core values of honesty, integrity and passion that have kept these furniture pros around for nearly half a century.

7979 Weston Rd., Vaughan, Ont. 1-800-263-8575 Aug/Sept 2017

City Life Magazine


home decor

A RUG ABOVE THE REST An accent becomes the focus when a room is adorned with a Luke Irwin rug. The bespoke products speak to the true art form of traditional hand-knotted rugs — not to mention admirable ethical practices Interview By Michelle Zerillo-Sosa

Q. Where did your interest in rugs come from and when did you decide to make them your career? A. A chance meeting with the son of a master Tibetan weaver

at a family lunch party inspired me to enter the rug trade. I was, before then, “the world’s worst employee” — I couldn’t find anything that I really wanted to do. I worked for an antiques dealer, worked in PR, but something about rugs really struck me — so I flew to Nepal to meet with them and started my own business.

design is where my creativity comes from. My inspirations tend to be rooted in history and imagination sparked by everything from dreams to literature, crop circles and, quite often, challenging ways of thinking. My travel is another source. I am always open to new adventures and experiences, which translates into the variety and vibrancy of my collections. Q. Can you briefly explain the painstaking detail that goes into the artistry of making of your rugs? I believe it’s much more involved than most people think. A. All of our rugs are hand-knotted using traditional methods

in the foothills of the Himalayas overlooking the Kathmandu Valley in Nepal, and in Jaipur, India. Each stage is carried 54

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out completely by hand by highly skilled craftsmen — from the drafting to the carding, weaving, washing and handfinishing. To give you some sense of the scale of what is involved, a single 8’ x 10’ rug from our Mosaic Collection will contain 120,000 knots, which will all have been individually hand-knotted — that may give you a sense as to why our lead time is what it is. Q. Rugs are very personal to purchasers — do you find that for most purchasers, every rug tells a story? A. Definitely, each made-to-order rug is very special and

personal to each client. The driving principle is to offer each customer complete control over their own rug — with choices to be made for the size, colour, weave, textile and design, ensuring that every client receives a truly bespoke and personal service. As all of our rugs are inspired by stories throughout

photos Courtesy of Luke IrwIn

Q. Where does the creative spark that inspires your rug designs come from? A. My fascination with the past and how it impacts contemporary

history, they tell a story of their own. When someone purchases it for their own home, they add to that history. Q. Is making the investment in a Luke Irwin rug also a reflection of the purchaser that can be passed down through generations? A. Absolutely — rugs are one of

the things you remember as a child because you often play on the floor when you’re small, so inheriting a rug from previous generations often brings with it memories of the home it used to be in. One of the things I stress to people is that rugs are often the most expensive thing in the room aside from the artwork, and the reason they’re a great investment is that they will last just as long — rugs are designed to last hundreds of years. What else in your life can you say that about? Q. How have you developed such a reputation among wellknown and famous clientele? A. I have been very lucky to work with

amazing clients all over the world. I think that my unique eye for pattern and

colour makes our rugs stand apart, which has caught the attention of designers and architects who have become invaluable partners. What we do is slightly different to what’s out there, and I think the feeling of a truly unique piece in their home is a reason we attract a certain level of clientele. Q. In someone’s home, is there anything so silent and subtle, yet that speaks so loudly about a quality lifestyle, as a handmade rug?

A. Rugs in a room are always subliminal;

you notice them out of the corner of your eye, but they immediately send a message. We believe the importance of a rug in any given space is often greatly underestimated; a good rug can be the cornerstone or foundation on which all the disparate elements and personalities within a room are bound together. In such cases the rug should almost be the last thing you notice on entering a room, silently providing a basis for the harmony of a scheme.

Luke Irwin is committed to producing rugs that are bespoke to each client’s purpose, taste and story

LR1129 / LR1132 / LR1133

Your wedding, Your style.

31 Colossus Drive Unit 104, Woodbridge, ON 31 Colossus Drive 905.264.6669 | Woodbridge, Ontario


Aug/Sept 2017

City Life Magazine







over Parking is an online and m o b i l e - ph on e service that allows homeowners to rent out their driveways for customers to park their vehicles in. It’s rooted in a participatory business model where homeowners can be both the entrepreneur and the customer when they are out and need to park somewhere. “People love it,” founder Grant Brigden says. “It has a lot of positive impacts.” Users do love it, so much so that since the Rover Parking application launched on the App Store in early 2016, approximately 50,000 users have downloaded the app, with roughly 3,000 driveways listed across Canada and the U.S. “I think the aspect of people having some extra cash that they can spend on their family vacation, weekend away, dinner or their phone, from doing nothing — obviously, this makes a lot of sense.” Rover Parking has moved to a “variable pricing model” where the rates vary from $2-3 an hour (depending on the area), as well as $7-per-day and $9-per-night flat rates. Rover Parking analogizes itself as “the AirBnB of parking,” referring to the marketplace where one’s residence is his/her source of business. However, as Brigden says, the concept of Rover is not only about business and making money. It can be about forming a bond and mutual respect between the parking Grant Brigden owner and the renter. “We Founder of Rover Parking have parkers that are parking in people’s spots [and] arrive back to their car with a hot coffee waiting for them. We’ve had parkers come back to their spots in the winter, when there was the ice storm [2013], with their windows all scraped, their wipers pulled up — because it’s almost like these individuals that are renting their space see it as a service they’re providing, not just a space.”

n summer 2012, entrepreneurs Pema Hegan, Andrew McGrath and Noah Godfrey took it upon themselves to alter the grocery shopping experience to benefit all. Subsequent to a series of beta tests with coupon-trading groups and after seeing a myriad of positive responses, the three launched Checkout 51 — a cash-back mobile application primarily for grocery and hygiene products — in December of that year. “We were looking at how people saved and grocery shopped. At the time, we realized that the idea of couponing hadn’t really changed much in a hundred years,” co-founder Godfrey says. “Effectively, there hadn’t been much innovation in couponing, and we realized there was a lot of pain and friction in the whole process.” Godfrey alludes to the inconvenience and timeconsuming nature of traditional couponing — how shoppers


City Life Magazine

Aug/Sept 2017

The Checkout 51 app allows users to save on anything from snacks to cleaning products

have to seek out offers, find deals, print them out and physically take them to the store. That’s all changed with Checkout 51. “I think we have a big impact on the grocery-shopping experience,” Godfrey says. “We hear from our members every day who write in to us and tell us how, because of Checkout 51, we’ve made their lives better.” The Checkout 51 app is free to download and to create an account. Every Thursday morning, the list of offers refreshes and updates. Users can select the offers that appeal to them and buy those products at any store. Users must upload a photo of their receipt, select the items and quantity they’ve purchased, and they are then credited with cash back to their account when the data has been processed. “It’s really about ease of use and a wide selection of offers,” Godfrey says. Brands on the Checkout 51 app include Natrel, Raisin Bran and PeptoBismol (to name a few).

Hello FresH

Turo has over 800 car makes and models available in three countries


hen the current director of Turo Canada, Cedric Mathieu, joined the company in September 2014, he did so because he saw a “massive opportunity” to put non-occupied cars to better use. “People around the world spend about $80 billion a year on car rentals. The thing is, there are more than a billion cars on the planet that are sitting idle 95 per cent of the time, so there is a massive opportunity to put these cars to better use by connecting car owners with travellers,” he says. “What we’re trying to build at Turo is really a platform to make better use of those cars.” Mathieu also found Turo to be an opportunity to help drivers “offset the cost of car ownership” and “recoup some of that money” — money that goes toward maintenance and insurance, primarily. Turo’s website provides car owners an opportunity to rent out their vehicles to people and generate some cash flow. For renters, this Cedric Mathieu allows them a chance to Director of Turo Canada explore their location of choice with very little commitment, liability or worry. Turo differs from regular car rental companies in another way as well. “What’s really important is first for you to have the choice, but [also] when you rent the car, you know that this is the car you’re going to drive. When you go to a traditional car rental company, you never know exactly.” According to Turo’s official website, it offers more than 800 distinct makes and models, from everyday vehicles such as the Kia Forte and Nissan Sentra, to more luxurious brands such as Porsche and Mercedes-Benz models. Turo has car rentals listed in more than 4,700 cities and 300 airports in the U.S., the U.K. and, of course, Canada. Either the car owner or Turo can set the daily rental prices — which are, on average, 35 per cent cheaper than those of traditional car rental organizations.


here is now a way to get honest, high quality, preportioned fresh ingredients and antibiotics- and hormone-free meats right to your door in a timely and expeditious manner. It’s time to say hello to HelloFresh, weekly meal-kit subscription company that delivers “cook from scratch” meals to customers and has a mobile application. “From a vision perspective, we aim to change the way people eat and support them on their way to having a healthier life,” says Ian Brooks, managing director at HelloFresh Canada. “It’s [about] food bringing people together. It’s eating healthy, balanced, nutritious meals cooked at home.” The HelloFresh app enables users to scan the database for hundreds of recipes and dishes rooted in sustainably sourced items. “Cooking healthy, home-cooked meals shouldn’t be limited to anyone,” Brooks says. HelloFresh buys all the ingredients, makes the recipes, and plans and prepares the meals for its customers. And they deliver everything to them — in a

HelloFresh offers meals containing farm-fresh ingredients that are sustainably sourced

corrugated carboard box with a reflective foil interior to preserve the food’s freshness — at no additional charge. HelloFresh also provides customers with a pictorial step-by-step guideline for cooking the meals they’ve ordered. “[It’s] about bringing this to everyone, regardless of the time you have at your disposal or [your] cooking skills. We want to bring you all that opportunity.” HelloFresh delivers everywhere in Canada except for Quebec, the territories and parts of northern Ontario. Customers can select meals, skip their delivery and pay — all on their phone. Dishes can range from pesto rosso pasta to minty sumac chicken and a maple kale mustard salad. A typical HelloFresh order includes a total of three dinners for either two or four people. According to Brooks, deliveries usually start on Mondays. The HelloFresh app is available to download for free on iTunes and on Android. Aug/Sept 2017

City Life Magazine


A dv e r to r i A l

The Rebel and Goddess Within

Vaughan’s hottest female-exclusive boutique fitness club is the brainchild of two of the most charismatic workout enthusiasts you’ll meet. Teresa Benezrah and Deborah Benz are fired up about changing the lives of women in the community and nurturing fabulous Rebel Goddesses

rebel Goddess’s classes look to improve women’s muscular conditioning, flexibility, endurance and stamina


City Life Magazine

Aug/Sept 2017

revolutionary classes is designed with one thing in mind: empowering women to achieve what they believed to be impossible. “We have a deep-rooted passion for helping women tap into their strengths, and we’re dedicated to achieving results,” says Deborah. “We are the ultimate destination for innovative classes. We want you to try everything without the fear of judgement.” You can be kicking butt at a barbell muscle- and strength-conditioning class on a Monday and strengthening with an exciting ballet and pilates mash-up on Wednesday; the magic of Rebel Goddess is its versatility. Let’s face it, you can only take so many days of the same routine before you want to quit. Don’t worry, this isn’t your mom’s aerobics VHS! “I’m beyond excited to meet all the different types of women who will join our Rebel Goddess family,” says Teresa. “We really want to build a community of women who support each other.” Teresa and Deborah help women of all ages, sizes and fitness levels to sculpt the best version of themselves through

flexibility, cardio and strength training, all while promoting an overall healthy lifestyle. “There are no barriers; you’re never too old or too inexperienced to start,” says Deborah. “We’ve totally removed that intimidation factor for women.” True to their personalities, the fitness leaders bring a fun, light-hearted vibe to each of their classes and always promote inclusivity. Like most of us, they truly believe that reaching your fitness goals shouldn’t be a chore. Through the experienced and patient support of two fabulous fitness leaders, every woman has the potential to not only reveal her inner rebel goddess, but also gain the knowledge to maintain a lifelong love of self and of fitness.

Photos by carlos a. Pinto


on’t all of life’s greatest endeavours begin on a whim, and perhaps over a glass of wine or two? After years of frustration with a dull local fitness scene that just wasn’t keeping up with the times, longtime friends Teresa Benezrah and Deborah Benz took a step back and had their aha moment — as they say, necessity is the mother of invention. The solution: Rebel Goddess, a chic and inclusive all-inone fitness club in the heart of Vaughan. One membership, one mentality, one common goal. The gorgeous new fitness club opening September 5 was designed by women for women, and there isn’t one detail that owners Teresa and Deborah haven’t thought of. Besides a modern glam interior and the club’s affordability, who could resist classes called “Happy Hour at the Barre,”“Booty Call” or “Iron Goddess”? The names themselves ignite our inner Wonder Woman and have us wanting to dip our toes in. If you can’t already tell, the duo want to dispel the misconceptions surrounding women and weightlifting. Each of these

8383 Weston Rd., Vaughan, Ont. 905-856-1122


The New Crew Mattel Canada Inc. releases the Barbie Fashionistas expansion, to include over a dozen unique, multicultural Ken dolls

Photos courtesy of Mattel canada Inc.


Written By Rebecca Alberico

hree cheers for diversity and inclusion! Canadian children rejoice as Barbie releases its most diverse Ken doll collection to date. The 15 new dolls, dubbed “The New Crew,” further diversify the already adored Fashionistas line, featuring three body types and a variety of skin tones, hairstyles and modern fashion looks. What does the Ken doll of 2017 look like? Think broad builds, man buns, cornrows and more, plus a total wardrobe overhaul. “Girls and boys now can look at these dolls and they can see different people around them,” says Lisa Perry, brand manager at Mattel Canada Inc. “Whether it’s their teacher, brother, father, friend, themselves — children can now use Barbie as that vehicle to further ignite storytelling and play.” This impressive release comes a year and a half after Barbie shocked the

press (in the best way) by expanding to add new, inclusive body shapes and styles of her own. “When Ruth Handler (our founder) created Barbie, she really created her to represent the fact that a woman has choices,” says Perry. “So when we enter this new chapter of the brand, we’re really working hard to evolve the product line to offer more choices and to better reflect the world that the girls see around them.” Naturally, we’re thrilled — but we can’t help but think, “What took so long?” The evolution of Ken is yet another step in Mattel’s plan to take care of the brand and grow with its consumers. “I think when you’re dealing with a brand that’s had this 58-year history, the brand and the product evolution really takes time,” admits Perry. “We’re really proud of the way that we’re evolving the brand through the product, as we

wanted to really adapt Barbie to what this generation sees today.” The doll designers draw their inspiration globally, looking at Barbie and Ken as mini time capsules and capturing what children are really seeing in the world around them. “One of the things that we find through research is that younger girls actually choose their dolls based on the styles, fashion and hair, whereas the older girls see the differences in the diversity,” says Perry. “The older girls ended up picking the dolls that looked more like themselves, their parents, friends or teachers.” With future plans to continue expanding the Fashionistas line, Perry says the possibilities are endless. Who knows, maybe we’ll be seeing Barbie in a hijab, or Ken wearing a kippah?

WIN A BARBIE FASHIONISTAS PRIZE PACK Be sure to follow us on Instagram @citylifemag for contest details!

Aug/Sept 2017

City Life Magazine



The YCDSB says that student interest and engagement has consistently inspired teachers to learn more about and embrace technology-enhanced learning in the classroom

DigitAl DiviDe A

quick search on Google for “kids and technology” will have you fielding a sea of articles that beg parents to ban screen time, with claims that tech use has proven links to ill-behaved children and those who lack creativity. Is this really the case? According to recent studies, kids are actually smarter than ever before. Take the Flynn effect, for example: in his study of IQ test scores for different populations over the past 60 years, researcher James Flynn discovered that IQ scores have risen from one generation to the next. IQ gains have increased steadily between 5 and 25 60

City Life Magazine

Aug/Sept 2017

Set foot in one of York Region’s new elementary schools and you may confuse the tech-drenched classrooms for the office space of a swanky startup on King Street. No chalkboards, no books, no paper — the York Catholic District School Board is ushering in a new era of education. City Life Magazine explores the impact of digital technology in and out of the classroom and its effect on IQ and development Written By Rebecca Alberico

points, and since the advent of technology, the largest gains are occurring in tests measuring fluid intelligence as opposed to crystallized intelligence. Whereas crystallized intelligence relies more on long-term memory and reflects the ability to use experience and knowledge, fluid intelligence is defined as the capacity to reason and solve problems independent of any knowledge from the past. According to Alyson Schafer, family therapist, author and acclaimed parenting expert, researchers have identified five factors that contribute to the increase of fluid intelligence: novelty, challenging

yourself, creative thinking, doing things the hard way and networking. “Those are exactly the five components you would find in gaming, for example,” says Schafer. The long and short of it is that technology is making learning fun, whether it be through gamification or digital integration, and studies show that increased engagement assists in the retention of information. A shift in educAtion Guardian Angels Catholic Elementary School is just one of the new digital schools to pop up in York Region. From

Photo By carlos a. Pinto


JK to Grade 8, students are utilizing the latest and greatest iPads, Chromebooks and interactive whiteboards to read, write and explore the curriculum in a new way. Physical guided readers for young learners have been replaced with RazKids, an online guided reading program with thousands of interactive ebooks, while agendas, photocopies and DuoTangs for each subject have been replaced with D2L, a virtual learning environment where students can view handouts, see their homework and turn in assignments. Since its inception in 2015, school principal Diana Candido has worked tirelessly to help teachers and parents of Guardian Angels seamlessly and comfortably integrate this new approach into their classrooms and homes, respectively. “It has really become a part of our day; that’s when you know it’s authentic and not forced,” says Candido. The elementary school principal is proud to be at the helm of such a forwardthinking institution, admitting the use of technology has helped to level the playing field for all types of learners. “The biggest improvement is looking at those children with different learning styles and needs and seeing how we’re opening up a whole new world for them,” she shares. “There are children whose brains work so beautifully, but they can’t put a word on paper, so you give them a device and now we know what they’re thinking.” While the principal can’t comment to a noticeable improvement in grades just yet, she has noted a substantial increase in students’ energy and confidence, as well as an increased desire to go outside and interact with their peers at recess. “We try to maintain that balance, so we’re also nurturing the students’ love of play and the outdoors.” Why the ycdsB is on BoArd “There is much research to support the idea that technology is engaging for students, and student engagement is a key component for learning,” says Diane Murgaski, superintendent of education for the YCDSB. The curriculum, special education and IT departments partnered with a broad-based committee of principals, central staff and educators to help plan and implement a strategy for aligning technology and the existing curriculum.

The biggesT improvemenT is looking aT Those children wiTh differenT learning sTyles and needs and seeing how we’re opening up a whole new world for Them.

— Diana Candido, Principal, Guardian Angels Catholic Elementary School

“It has enriched the opportunity for new pedagogical practices,” says Darlene Clapham, chief information officer for the YCDSB. She notes that when students can research and visualize concepts, it helps to stimulate communication, collaboration, innovation and problem solving. The board admits that initially there were a number of parents concerned about the use of devices and online safety. The YCDSB maintains that student safety always takes priority, which is why schools have implemented digital discipleship teachings and have partnered with the regional police to promote the use of technology in ethical and responsible ways. “If students, guided by our Catholic values, use evolving technologies in responsible and respectful ways, they will become reflective, critical and creative digital disciples who contribute to the common good,” says Murgaski. An AlternAtive ApproAch Katie Ketchum, director of admissions and marketing at Toronto Waldorf School, shares the institution’s belief in using “the right thing at the right time.” The private school has a reputation in the GTA for being low-tech, and it is true. Toronto Waldorf School’s method is built upon a foundation that also includes academic integration, focus on “how to think” rather than “what to think,” environmental stewardship and experiential learning.

Upon admission, educators encourage parents to enforce a “no screens” policy at home from Monday to Friday. Of course, this is not set in stone or in any official contract, but Ketchum says it is important, especially for the younger students. “Firstly it’s just about maintaining faceto-face human experience,” says Ketchum. “For us, at that stage, a lot of the focus is on building social and emotional intelligence and self-regulation.” She adds that when technology is introduced prematurely, it teaches instant gratification, and children’s brains are becoming accustomed to this. “What we want for children, as long as possible, is to protect their inner space and imagination,” says Ketchum. Waldorf doesn’t discount technology altogether, but takes it back to basics, showing students exactly where the first technologies began and how they’ve evolved to be the computers we wear on our wrists today. Throughout the handson curriculum, students first discover the loom and its connections to weaving and computing. Emphasis is placed on understanding how these old technologies have developed in the long history of human knowledge. “We’re knitting and students are learning to make their own patterns when they knit (which is binary), so we use that as our jumping board later for coding,” says Ketchum. “We also want to be doing things like weaving and knitting because the experience is meaningful, and when a human being connects to an experience, they tend to remember it.” Aug/Sept 2017

City Life Magazine


Based on an increased amount of neuroscience research, Waldorf believes that detaching from screens and being physically active has a positive, brainbuilding impact

The Toronto Waldorf School is no outlier. Even the late Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, was known to limit tech time at home — his kids weren’t initially allowed on the iPad.

JOIN THE WAVE! This SEPTEMBER 28, 2017, Waves of Changes for Autism will be hosting our 2nd annual gala event at the VENETIAN BANQUET CENTRE in Concord, Ont. Last year, Waves of Changes for Autism raised $120,000 during our 1st annual gala. We aim to raise funds and provide financial assistance toward programs for Vaughan families struggling with ASD and other neurodevelopmental delays.



27/8 Media Inc • Arcadia Academy of Music • The Asper Foundation Bianchi Presta LLP • Big Cannoli • Borg Fence and Contracting Built Events • Black & McDonald Ltd • Brady & Seidner Assoc. Ltd Brandos Clothing • C Valley Paving • Dolce Media Group Grande Cheese • Grand Prix Kartways • Gratitude Floral Greenpark Group• JK Overweel • Mully Jackson • Prestige Graphics QEW Contracting Ltd • Ray D'Antonio• Render Media • Rogers TV Sofina Foods Inc • Snapd • Stellarbridge Management Inc • Z103.5

For more information about becoming a sponsor or to purchase tickets, contact or call 905-597-WAVE 62

City Life Magazine

Aug/Sept 2017

“Stop using the word ‘addicted,’” says Schafer. “Parents tend to say technology is addictive because [kids] like it. Well, kids like candy, but it doesn’t mean they’re addicted.” Schafer admits that too much of anything (even water) is not ideal, but while “real addiction” does exist, misusing the word “addicted” is dangerous. Instead, Schafer encourages technophobic parents to swap “addicted” for “passionate” or “engaged” instead. The family therapist admits that it’s not a child’s fault for not wanting to go off-line when devices are designed to keep them on there. She says it all comes down to setting reasonable limits and being aware of what your kids are doing online. She even suggests parents visit Common Sense Media to get a better understanding of the apps, games and YouTube channels their kids are visiting. The site provides independent ratings, reviews and other helpful tools for parents. In many instances, technology has also proven to have a positive effect on brain development and stimulation outside the bounds of education. Schafer shares that stimulating the visual cortex after you’ve seen a traumatic image, like a car accident, reduces post-traumatic stress and flashbacks. There are also app developers like Mighteor who have created Bioresponsive Games™ to help children with behavioural and emotional challenges learn how to manage their emotions throughout the day. According to the website, kids wear a Mighty Band heart-rate monitor that controls game difficulty, and to succeed in the games, they learn skills to stay focused and in control. The potential of technology is ever-evolving, and our digital natives are leading the way. In their book, Born Digital, authors Palfrey and Gasser divulge that the digital revolution has already made the world a better place and maintain that digital natives have every chance of propelling society further forward in myriad ways — if we let them. “So many times there’s this need for control, but the children will guide us,” says Candido. “And if we allow them to, it’s going to be incredible, where they’re going to go.”

Photos coUrtEsy oF toronto WalDorF school

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Aug/Sept 2017

City Life Magazine



A dv e r to r i A l

there is no first strike “ in karate. that’s why everything starts with a block first.

” Rooted in tRadition, Shaping the FutuRe


or more than four decades, instructors at Northern Karate Schools have been imparting the life skills of self-defence and self-improvement to thousands of martial arts students throughout Toronto and the GTA. Founded in 1972 by Hanshi Cezar Borkowski, Northern Karate Schools has remained a pillar in improving the confidence and self-discipline of its students. The general public tends to inaccurately assume that karate simply involves fighting. However, as Cos Vona — director of Northern Karate’s Rutherford and Maple locations — puts it, “Karate is a defensive art. There is no first strike in karate; all of our technique is centred around blocking first.” According to Vona, self-control and discipline are the pillars of karate. Additionally, seldom discussed in contemporary media are the great physical, psychological and emotional benefits karate can have on students. As Vona acknowledges, the physical aspect of karate training is key, and the practice of karate allows for the targeting of important smaller muscles that can be difficult to engage through other forms of exercise. “When practising martial arts, you are not only increasing your fine motor skills, but also working the smaller stabilizing muscles, as well as increasing


City Life Magazine

Aug/Sept 2017

balance through activities like kicks and stances,” says Vona. However, the amount of mental activity involved is where karate truly distinguishes itself from other forms of physical exercise. “The difference between other physical activities and the martial arts is that in martial arts you are also gaining a confidence and a focus to perform better,” Vona says. “The forms and kata that we do engage the students’ brains throughout the class, and having to remember these forms and kata increases memory. The students also learn that repetition is key and that to achieve success you must do things repeatedly, but also understand the application of the techniques you are using.” The various striking patterns and exercises students perform can, according to Vona, relieve psychological and emotional stress. “When students are training and hitting the pads, they are releasing built-up tension and stress,” the eighth-degree black belt instructor says. “Your brain releases endorphins, giving the body a naturally euphoric feeling. You are also able to detach from your problems, and this allows both your body and mind to relax.” A large portion of Northern Karate School’s clientele is quite young; this has yielded many positive developments over

— Cos Vona

the course of 45-plus years. “The changes we have witnessed in our students have been quite dramatic,” says Vona. “We have seen kids demonstrate a greater amount of self-confidence, and this has led to great improvements in not just their school life, but in all areas. It is because of their years of training and dedication that they were able to overcome challenges in their own lives with ease.” Unfortunately, when examining the academic experience, one cannot overlook bullying, a pervasive issue that Northern Karate Schools has addressed in its programs such as Bully Proof, a free workshop that helps children learn ways of dealing with and overcoming bullying. “It’s a huge problem,” Vona says. “We get a lot of parents coming in because their kids are having bullying issues. I tell our students that it is crucial to emanate a sense of confidence and self-respect, as this helps to avoid being a target to bullies.” Vona makes it clear that Northern Karate in no way condones violence. In fact, Northern Karate teaches its students — in scenarios such as a physical bullying confrontation — techniques to get away and break free. “We don’t teach our students to attack or to be aggressive,” he says. “We instead teach them the skills they need to escape harmful scenarios, but with the knowledge that if they can’t get away, they have the ability to defend themselves. We are not breeding people to be violent. In fact, the more martial arts training you have, the less violent you are.”


Karate SchoolS

For school locations, visit



Studies show that students enrolled in martial arts programs have increased self-esteem and improved focus and concentration abilities in the classroom. With 45 years of martial arts instruction under its belt, Northern Karate Schools is the trusted choice for many men, women and children in the GTA. With 12 world-renowned locations, NKS offers award-winning programs taught by instructors with decades of experience. 9 YEARS IN A ROW







3883 Rutherford Rd. 905.265.7777

4350 Steeles Ave. W. 905.856.4047

225 McNaughton Rd. E 905.303.5202

11160 Yonge St. 905.508.5811


Aug/Sept 2017

City Life Magazine




angry smile

A parent’s guide to proactively navigating the passive- aggressive behaviour of their children, with insight into common characteristics that define them Written By Signe Whitson, LSW, C-SSWS


mber had been giving her mother the silent treatment all week. She was angry about not being allowed to sleep over at a friend’s house. Late Thursday night, she left a note on her mother’s pillow, asking her mom to wash her uniform before Friday’s soccer game. When Amber returned home from school on Friday, in a rush to pack her gear, she looked all over for her uniform. She finally found it in the washer — perfectly clean, as per her request — but still soaking wet! Amber was late for her game and forced to ride the bench. When all was unsaid and done, Amber’s mother felt defeated. Having one-upped her daughter in the conflict, it was clear to her that she had lost by winning. As parents, most of us have been in situations where travelling the low road is irresistible and we become temporarily reckless in our driving. But anytime we mirror a child’s poor behaviour instead of modelling a healthier way to behave, our victories 66

City Life Magazine

Aug/Sept 2017

add up to long-term relationship damage and lasting hostilities. So, what could Amber’s mother have done differently in this hostile nonconfrontation? What can any parent do to avoid the agony of victory and the defeat of healthy communication? The following guidelines offer parents strategies for maintaining their calm in a passive-aggressive storm and responding in ways that lay the groundwork for less conflictual relationships with their children and adolescents. Know what you are dealing with Amber’s silent treatment is a classic example of passive-aggressive behaviour. In The Angry Smile: The New Psychological Study of Passive-Aggressive Behavior at Home, at School, in Marriages & Close Relationships, in the Workplace & Online, we define passive aggression as a deliberate and masked way of expressing feelings of anger. Common passiveaggressive behaviours include:

• Verbally denying feelings of anger (“I’m not mad.”) • Verbally complying but behaviourally delaying (“I’ll clean my room after soccer.”) • Shutting down conversations (“Fine” and “Whatever”) • Intentional inefficiency (“I did make my bed. I didn’t know you meant all of the blankets had to be pulled up!”) • “Forgetting” or “misplacing” important items (“I don’t know where your car keys are.”) • Avoiding responsibility for tasks (“I didn’t know you wanted me to do it. Putting away the clean dishes is his chore!”) Parents who are familiar with these typical patterns are able to respond directly to their children’s underlying anger and to avoid misbehaving in counter-passive-aggressive ways.

Signe Whitson is a school counsellor, COO of the LSCI Institute and co-author of The Angry Smile. For more information or training on unmasking the hidden anger of a passiveaggressive child or adolescent, changing the destructive nature of this parent-child dynamic and strengthening the parent-child relationship, check out The Angry Smile: The New Psychological Study of Passive-Aggressive Behavior at Home, at School, in Marriages & Close Relationships, in the Workplace & Online.

Be the change you want to see Passive-aggressive persons master concealing their anger and are experts at getting unsuspecting others to act it out in one of two ways. Many respond with an outburst of anger and frustration — yelling, finger-wagging, threatening punishment — then feel guilty and embarrassed for having lost control. Others keep the tension low, but turn up the heat on the simmering conflict by mirroring the passive aggression. When Amber’s mother purposely left the soccer uniform in the washer, she mirrored the anger that Amber had been feeling all week long. What’s more, her counter-passive-aggression ensured that the anger between mother and daughter would linger, fester and grow

more intense over time in its buried, unaddressed form. The second step in effectively confronting passive aggression is to model assertiveness. Rather than mirroring Amber’s undesirable behaviour, her mother would have been wise to model and teach her daughter specific skills for communicating her anger directly and respectfully. Encouraging assertiveness skills is one of a parent’s most valuable teaching opportunities. say yes to anger Anger is a basic, spontaneous, neurophysiological part of the human condition. As such, it is neither good nor bad. It just is. Too often young people are held to an unrealistic social standard about what it takes to be “good.” From a very early age, they begin to associate

having angry feelings with being bad. Like Amber, our children perceive anger as taboo and take steps to suppress angry feelings. When parents teach their children to say “yes” to the presence of anger and “no” to the expression of anger through aggressive or passive-aggressive behaviours, they build a foundation for lifelong emotional intelligence and strong relationships. allow it! tolerate it! encourage it, even! The final essential angle to changing passive-aggressive behaviour in young people is our willingness to receive their anger when they test out their new voice. If you are going to guide your children to be more open and direct with their anger, then you must also be willing to accept their anger when they express it. For many, this is truly difficult. But for lasting change to take hold for Amber and other young people, they must know that the assertive expression of their anger will be tolerated, respected and even honoured.




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City Life Magazine



2018 Giulia QuadrifoGlio:

The Don of The SeDanS Alfa Romeo continues its legacy of high class and power with the 2018 Giulia Quadrifoglio — the new boss of the road Written By Amandalina Letterio


f you ask me, Alfa Romeo established its brand when it was featured in The Godfather: Part II back in 1974. The 6C is Michael Corleone’s car during his exile in Sicily. It is a part of some of the trilogy’s most important scenes, one in particular that changes Michael forever: Apollonia, the love of his life, learns to drive with this car, and in it she meets her death. The company’s decision to be a part of this cult classic illuminated the fact that this is a brand with class, power and high status — fit for a Godfather. Fast-forward 44 years to 2018, and Alfa Romeo has come out with another bang: the Giulia Quadrifoglio. A car that intimidates its competitors BMW and Mercedes-Benz, maintains the brand’s reputation by setting track records, and has that Italian style with an interior and exterior second to none. The new Giulia Quadrifoglio displays the best power-to-weight ratio in a 68

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Aug/Sept 2017

class that includes Mercedes’ AMG and BMW’s M3, with a near 3 kg/hp. Alfa Romeo says it’s all about how to use that power, with the 50/50 weight distribution producing ideal balance and showcasing the advantage of a rearwheel-drive system in a front-engine sedan by combining rear-wheel drive with the Giulia’s front-mounted, allaluminum, twin-turbo V-6 engine. The Giulia Quadrifoglio is the only sedan in the world to have an active aero front splitter. This adaptable carbon fibre spoiler is combined into the front lower fascia. Refined and electronically governed, it vigorously balances and alters overall downforce. On straights, the splitter closes to reduce resistance and drag. If that weren’t already enough to crush the AMG and the M3, on corners and when braking, the front splitter opens to give 100 kilos of downforce for the best possible balance.

Alfa Romeo has been involved in car racing since 1911, so it only makes sense that the company has made a conscious choice to focus on the speed and power of this car. Although they may have lost that focus for a couple of years, they definitely reclaimed their legacy this year at the Nürburgring test track in Germany when the Giulia beat the Porsche Panamera Turbo as the fastest sedan in the ring. It was initially reported that the Panamera Turbo had beaten the Giulia by one second, but in a do-over, the Alfa Romeo was able to get itself around the track .06 seconds quicker than the Porsche, stealing the title back. For those who might have thought the Alfa family didn’t have that kind of power anymore, this further solidifies their reborn reputation and is a reminder of their 107 years of experience in making cars drive fast. Born in Milano, Italy, the Giulia Quadrifoglio’s exterior was destined

The Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio embodies pure power and balance, with a twin-turbo V6 engine, 50/50 weight distribution and an active aero front splitter

to have that iconic Italian design. Alfa Romeo has perfectly combined the rich history of the brand’s style with a modern-day sophistication. The car puts the driver in a trance with a mix of state-of-the-art technology, seductive styling and race-inspired performance. The Giulia definitely has an eye-catching presence on the road with the dominance of a don — there’s no way you would miss this beauty driving by. That Italian essence is carried through internally, as the driver is the centre of this car’s universe.

Giulia’s high-quality craftsmanship begins with an asymmetric instrument panel, emphasizing the driver’s cockpit. It’s wrapped in ultra-premium leather and Alcantara with accents of authentic carbon fibre and aluminum stitching — a tailored look that could only be made in Italy. The Giulia Quadrifoglio is an in-yourface reminder that Alfa Romeo is the boss of the road. It wipes out its competitors like BMW, Porsche and Mercedes-Benz, Godfather style. Giulia is the only car in

its class with an active aero front splitter, which completely enhances the driver experience, pairing perfectly with the way the interior of the vehicle is crafted for comfort and skilful driving. This is a brand that refuses to be second place, as seen when Alfa Romeo aggressively took back their track title of having the fastest sedan. Cleary, Alfa Romeo created the Giulia with a vengeance, and as the Godfather himself would say: revenge is a dish that is best served cold.

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mental health

Fine Lines

Why premature esthetic procedures in young people could lead to undiagnosed disorders and fuel less acceptance of normal human variation Written By Rebecca Alberico

njectables are quickly becoming the most popular treatment of choice for millennials at doctor’s offices and medi-spas. In Vaughan alone there are dozens of establishments that offer neuromodulators (Botox) and fillers. The latest survey by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) shows that 56 per cent of facial plastic surgeons saw an increase in cosmetic surgery or injectables with patients under age 30 in 2016 alone. It’s important to note that there are no official plastic surgery statistics available in Canada. Interestingly, neither Health Canada nor the Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons tracks any data. Even so, it’s no secret that a flashy social media culture has been the main proponent of plastic surgery and augmentation among this generation — most notably since the birth of the “selfie” 70

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Aug/Sept 2017

in 2013, when the word was officially inducted into Oxford dictionaries. Celebrities like the Kardashians were among the first to normalize things like lip fillers and Botox, and with nearly 60 per cent of Instagram users falling between the ages of 18 and 29, these messages are being absorbed by impressionable eyes. Dr. Peggy Richter, head of the Frederick W. Thompson Anxiety Disorders Centre at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, worries about the mental and developmental risk of young adults and adolescents who may have a mental disorder, such as body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), having easy access to these procedures. The doctor’s concern is that if these esthetic procedures are too easy to access, young men and women may jump the gun on procedures for variations in their appearance that in another five years they would have come to terms with. “I think it’s impoverishing for the individual and the society, fuelling less

acceptance of normal human variation,” says Dr. Richter. Most importantly, she stresses that there is a general lack of awareness and knowledge about mental health issues like BDD or obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) in clinics administering these procedures. For example, individuals with BDD will commonly seek out and receive cosmetic treatments instead of psychiatric ones to correct their perceived flaws. According to the International OCD Foundation, cosmetic treatments are not recommended for this disorder since procedures rarely resolve the individual’s preoccupation, and in some cases, they make symptoms worse. “The problem is that the degree of training that these people have is highly variable, and certainly there is no mandate that people who get the technological certification to be able to do this in an esthetic clinic will have any training in mental health or any knowledge of the significance of this difficulty.”

Dr. Peggy Richter MD, FRCP(C)

Currently, estheticians in Canada need only complete a certification course in order to offer Botox or fillers. “Plastic surgeons aren’t trained particularly in psychiatry, but at least they’ve had medical training, including some general psych training,” says Dr. Richter. “That’s just not true of people who come at it from an esthetician perspective.” Cristina Jakimtschuk, director of Sherwood Village Spa in Mississauga, employs a real doctor for cosmetic procedures and says clients under the age of 21 make up only five to seven appointments per month, a tiny fraction of her mature clientele. Jakimtschuk believes this is due to the higher cost of procedures. Village Wellness Spas charges $12 per unit of Botox, whereas Cristina Jakimtschuk Spa Director

they’re easily accessible for $8 to $10 in most other spas. The director enjoys the peace of mind and expertise that comes with having a doctor on hand, and she doesn’t mind being on the pricier side. “Our medical director and injector, Dr. Lam, is a professional, and he understands what

I thInk It’s ImpoverIshIng for the IndIvIdual and the socIety, fuellIng less acceptance of normal human varIatIon.

— Dr. Peggy Richter

the point of Botox and filler is; it’s not meant to give you that overdone look, but to be a subtle enhancement,” says Jakimtschuk. She adds that the spa will refuse a procedure to anyone whom they feel has had too much. “If Dr. Lam feels that his professionalism or the look of the work will be compromised, he won’t do it.” Unfortunately, this is not true of many local establishments, says the spa owner. Jakimtschuk says she understands that it’s very difficult for people to refuse customers these days, especially when there is such high competition — but it’s all about maintaining your morals. “There are a handful of clinics that do use doctors and have the same values and mentality that we have, but I also feel like there are some who are in it for money.” Dr. Roger Lam

Cosmetic Rejuvenation Physician

So long as establishments continue to have procedures easily accessible to youth, Dr. Richter believes young adults are going to be much more focused on and much less accepting of minor variations from the ideal standard of beauty that we see portrayed in the media.

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hen Angela Martino was 15, a hormone imbalance caused what she describes as “an excessive amount of hair on my face,” which led to embarrassment and low self-esteem. But Martino found a solution that helped her through it. “I started electrolysis treatments, which raised my self-confidence and put me on a journey to help others going through the same difficulty,” she says. Today, Martino, the founder of Neece Electrolysis, has become a certified laser technician and electrologist. Electrolysis is the only FDA-approved permanent hair removal system that has the ability to target all skin and hair types, delivering effective results for both men and women.


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A dv e r to r i A l

Fashion Forward

NV Boutique celebrates a year of fabulous fashion in Vaughan

Photos by carlos a. Pinto


here there’s a will, there’s a way. September marks one year since mompreneurs Angela Napoli and Laura Ieraci first opened Woodbridge-based NV Boutique. With a passion for fashion, the duo saw the need in the community and set out to inspire confidence through quality couture and superior customer service. With a fabulous assortment of denim, eye-catching cocktail dresses and fun work attire, NV Boutique is constantly on point with the season’s hottest looks. “The community is excited to have us here,” says Angela. “They’re excited that there’s finally a boutique like ours in the area that services women of all ages.” The shop carries a selection of trendy casual, formal and Canadian-made lifestyle wear, along with a plethora of glam accessories to boot. Not only are the collections hand-picked, but they’re also tried on by the owners themselves.

“Before we buy anything, we try it on,” says Laura. “We want to see the fit so we know what our customers are getting.” This helps owners Angela and Laura better service their loyal clientele, easily outfitting them for any occasion. You won’t find a huge amount of any particular item in stock, Angela and Laura

There’s finally a boutique like ours in the area that services women of all ages

say; they prefer to offer a variety of unique pieces as opposed to carrying racks of an overwhelming selection. NV Boutique offers top-quality products at fair prices, supporting local designers as well as international labels. “Laura and I are both consumers as well, and price point is important to us,” says Angela. Reflecting on a successful first year of business, Angela and Laura share that none of it would have been possible without the unconditional support of their husbands, families and fantastic customers.

Angela Napoli and laura ieraci, owners of Nv Boutique in Woodbridge

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health & wellness

LethaL Dose Rates of opioid-related ED visits by age group, York Region Public Health, 2016

Source: Public HealtH ontario

Two people in Ontario die every day of an opioid overdose. City Life Magazine uncovers the opioid epidemic as it migrates eastward, tearing its way into our communities and homes by way of substance abuse and prescribed pain management Written By Rebecca Alberico


ver the course of three years Joe* overdosed several times—six to be exact—and died twice. He needed to be resuscitated on two occasions when his heart stopped after shooting doses that were, unbeknownst to him, cut with fentanyl. The drugs had Joe in such a terrifying state of mind that he often had suicidal thoughts. “I knew the drugs were killing me slowly, and that gave me comfort,” he admits. When the Vaughan resident was 16 years old he began smoking marijuana and experimenting with cocaine to fit in with the cool kids. A dangerous cocktail of low self-esteem, depression and a deep desire to run in the popular circles had the high-schooler headed down a dark path. After a while the high didn’t faze him. Shortly after beginning his first part74

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time job at a local grocery store at 19 he was introduced to opiates by his coworkers. In search of a better high, he didn’t hesitate — one oxy and he was hooked. His new drug of choice spiralled into a $330-a-day debt that he found himself working seven days a week to support. “All I had to do was call them to get more,” says Joe. “It was easier to get than weed.” While Joe began with OxyContin, which he snorted, that led to shooting up heroin multiple times a day. It was a year and half before either his family or his long-time girlfriend caught on to what was happening. It wasn’t until a year and a half later that the 22-year-old accepted it was time to seek help. “Two of [the overdoses] happened

when I was at home, and my little brother used to come in and find me,” says Joe. “My second overdose threw me into a coma for three days, and what scared me was that it didn’t scare me.” He recalls walking out of the hospital and getting back to the same habits. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid, is similar to morphine but can be up to 100 times more potent. Initially developed in the 60s for operative patients in severe pain, today it is more loosely prescribed for chronic pain — and the fentanyl on the streets is illicitly prepared. Within the last two years specifically, Canadian recreational drug users have been warned of the possibility of everything from cocaine to heroin being laced with the much

cheaper and more easily accessible fentanyl. “We all have a role to play in preventing people from becoming dependent on opioids, as well as supporting those who are affected by opioid use disorder,” says Dr. Eric Hoskins, Ontario minister of health and long-term care, in a statement this past May. “In Ontario, we have been clear about the need to urgently address the opioid crisis.” “In the last five years we’ve really seen an increase in opiate addictions, and it hits those from all walks of life,” says Cindy Cepparo, program director at the Vitanova Foundation. Vitanova is a not-for-profit addiction recovery centre in the heart of Vaughan that offers addiction-related services to individuals and their families. Founded in 1987 by Dr. Franca Damiani Carella, Vitanova has successfully treated over 15,000 individuals in the community and beyond. “In our experience, opiate users don’t come to us after a year or two; they come to us after years of abuse,” Cepparo adds — a testament to the intense physical and mental dependency on the drug of substance abusers. After his sixth and final overdose Joe had had enough. He had hit rock bottom and decided he wanted to get help, regardless of the joint pains, cold sweats and muscle aches he knew lay ahead. The then 22-year-old admitted himself, with the support of his family, to Vitanova and started on the road to recovery. “I wasn’t going to go unless I was ready, and if I was forced in there it would have just been a waste of time for everyone,” says Joe. “They say our emotional and mental state stops when you start using, so that was basically a 16-year-old going into rehab at 22.” Joe stayed at Vitanova for six months, five months longer than he had initially been willing to stay. “You realize how important it is to disconnect from the outside world and begin to discover yourself,” he admits. Cosimo Schiafone, addiction support worker and facilities manager at Vitanova, says the key to the program at the rehab facility is total abstinence. “While they’re here, they not only learn valuable coping skills for their addiction, but we also focus on the traumas or emotions they’ve experienced that led to the substance abuse,” says Schiafone.


pioid abuse is not just a western Canadian issue, as often portrayed by the media, but a nationwide crisis. It is an epidemic that has migrated eastward, not only to the province of Ontario, but also to York Region. Many would consider Joe to be lucky; after numerous dances with death, surrounded by family and a supportive partner, he was able to reach sobriety. But many stories don’t end like Joe’s. According to Public Health Ontario’s online opioid tracker, fentanyl alone made up 33.3 per cent of deaths caused by opiates in the York Region in 2015, second to codeine, which accounted for 36.7 per cent of deaths, followed by oxycodone (which includes OxyContin), which made up 30 per cent. The number of opioids prescriptions filed in Ontario has increased in the last three years.

Source: HealtH Quality ontario

Opioid use skyrocketed between 2015 and 2016. According to the tracker, York Region experienced a 14 per cent increase in emergency department visits and a 40 per cent increase in hospitalizations due to opioid poisoning during that period. The statistics are alarming, but the problem doesn’t end with illicit street drugs. According to Health Quality Ontario, nearly two million people in Ontario fill prescriptions for opioids every year — which translates to into one in every seven Ontarians, or 14 per cent of the province’s population. “Canada is the second highest consumer of opioids, and we have a great deal of morbidity and mortality from opioids,” says Dr. Rocco Gerace, registrar at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO). “Part of the opioid problem is

related to physician prescribing, and that’s our responsibility.” The provincial opioid tracker doesn’t give much indication as to whether or not hospitalizations and overdoses were due to recreational drug abuse, accidental prescription overdose or an addiction stemming from prescribed pain medication that then resulted in overdose. “If we ask the right questions, we may find back in the day that people had an injury and may have been exposed to an opiate,” says Schiafone. “More and more cases are coming out where we realize that the addiction began with a prescription from a doctor.” In an attempt to combat this growing issue, the CPSO is committing to a wideranging strategy, with goals to facilitate safe and appropriate prescribing and reduce the risk to both patients and the public. This includes a four-step approach to guide, assess, investigate and facilitate education, actions that Greg Carney and his daughter Melissa say are happening far too late. It was just over a year ago when Greg found his wife, 60-year-old Ann Carney, unresponsive on the living room couch. Ann had accidentally overdosed on her prescribed fentanyl patch, a toxicology report would reveal months after her passing. It all started approximately a decade before her death, when Ann went in for a routine surgery, and complications led to chronic pain in one of her legs due to nerve damage. Ann’s leg was sensitive to touch, to clothing and even to sunlight. After numerous attempts to repair the damage through surgery with no success, she was referred to a pain specialist at a local hospital.


or years, Ann tried various painkillers, including fentanyl in a 120-mcg patch. Over the initial years of her treatment she would experience sudden onset blackouts, which always went undiagnosed by physicians and emergency room doctors — no one could connect the dots, according to her widowed husband, Greg. He says it wasn’t until a specialist at Sunnybrook Hospital took a look at her daily menu of medications that she was warned to lower her dosage of many of the prescriptions, including fentanyl. Aug/Sept 2017

City Life Magazine


Although concerned that it was the only thing that was helping to alleviate some of the pain, Ann took the advice of Sunnybrook doctors and her family physician and slowly cut back to 50 mcg of the fentanyl and the other prescriptions for the remainder of her years. A week before she passed, Ann started having increased episodes of blacking out. When she went back to the doctor for the issue he ordered some blood tests, which she scheduled for the following day — she would not make it to that appointment. Ann died the next morning. “I had so many questions, like what caused the overdose if she was taking the prescription as prescribed?” says Greg. “She didn’t deviate from it at all.” Greg shares that Ann had twice the legal dose of fentanyl in her system. It’s unclear who should be held responsible for Ann’s death, but what is clear is that the drug is dangerous and there needs to be more stringent regulation in place. “Fentanyl is not to be fooled with, and should only be used by people that are already dying,” says Greg. “The coroner’s office should also have a better tracking system for opioid death and make sure there’s a distinction between prescribed doses and street drugs.” Melissa agrees with her father and adds that the most important thing right now is awareness. Greg and Melissa are determined to continue advocating for better prescribing practices. The father-daughter duo will also continue raising awareness of the dangers of opioids and challenging their local and provincial governments to make a move. 76

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“There’s no question that there are indications for opioids, and there’s no question that their use in terminal pain is critical and will remain critical,” says Dr. Gerace. “But in terms of chronic pain, there are multiple other modalities that could be used, and I think it’s fair for patients to question if they’re given prescriptions for large amounts of opioids, because that is one of the things that creates problems.” The registrar stresses the importance of the public being their own advocates as well, urging them to contact the Public Advisory Service at the CPSO with any questions they may have. “It’s a complicated issue and we have to bring all of the stakeholders together in order to effect a solution that will protect the patients and the public,” says Dr. Gerace.


ehabilitation centres that place an emphasis on abstinence worry that too many resources are allocated to harm reduction as opposed to harm prevention initiatives. While Vitanova is only partially funded by the Ministry of Health, its domiciliary program isn’t government funded at all, and Schiafone admits he is discouraged to see money being pumped into resources that don’t subscribe to the same abstinent approach. Dr. Gerace says that as a society it is our responsibility to protect patients who are vulnerable, and things like our supervised injection sites do so. “They prevent transmission of infectious diseases and they’re also there in the event that someone uses inappropriate amounts of opioids and needs some kind of resuscitative intervention,” says Dr. Gerace.

Another nationwide initiative includes a free-of-charge naloxone kit. During an opioid overdose the drug affects the part of the brain that regulates breathing, causing severe respiratory depression and death. Naloxone is the opioid toxicity antidote, temporarily availing the overdose. The kit can be picked up at participating local pharmacies, no questions asked. “I think it’s important people know, if they’ve had to use naloxone, that it’s not a cure; they have to go to the hospital because most of these drugs last longer than the naloxone,” says Dr. Gerace, who explains that the potency of the opiates can vary. It seems clear that whether there is a substance addiction present or the drug is used as prescribed, opioids present an immediate threat to our communities and to our families. In early 2016, in partnership with the York Regional Police, Addiction Services York Region, community pharmacists and physicians, and York Region Public Health established an opioid education working group to address the issue of opioid use and misuse in York Region through community education. Its initiatives include the over-the-counter naloxone and the Fentanyl Patch 4 Patch Return Program — a small but significant step in the right direction. Opioids robbed Joe of his youth, strained his relationships, put him in debt and tormented him physically and emotionally. Now, 17 months sober, Joe is grateful for another chance at life. The 24-year-old is hyper-focused on keeping up with Vitanova’s aftercare program and staying connected to his counsellor. Statistically, chances of opiate addiction relapse are higher than those for any other drug addictions, but Joe refuses to fall into the statistic. A month prior to going to press with our story, Joe shared that the ex-co-worker who initially introduced him to opiates had died by suicide. Since becoming sober, Joe hadn’t had any contact with the nowdeceased man. *Name has been changed to protect the identity of the individual


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Haute Couture Academy of Fashion, Fine Arts & Design held its Annual Fashion & Art Show Gala on July 5 at Chateau Le Jardin in Woodbridge. The event is Haute Couture’s year-end event, showcasing the school’s talented students and their magnificent work in fashion, fine arts and design. Fashion students design and model their own collections, and graphic arts students design the posters, programs and other visual elements for the event. The students and their families were in attendance, as well as interior design and fashion professionals.

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People & Places

People & Places Canada’s Walk of faMe star UnVeIlIng

The stars aligned on June 7, as this year’s Canada’s Walk of Fame inductees unveiled their newly cemented stars along King Street West in Toronto’s Entertainment District. The 2016 class includes: Leafs great and former NHLer Darryl Sittler; actor and director Jason Priestley; fashion entrepreneur, television personality and journalist Jeanne Beker; musician Corey Hart; filmmaker Deepa Mehta; and actor, director and Cineplex Legends Inductee Al Waxman. The 2016 class was officially inducted last October at a red carpet gala event in Toronto.


1. Left to right: Darryl Sittler, Sara Waxman (on behalf of the late Al Waxman), Jason Priestley, Canada’s Walk of Fame CEO Jeffery Latimer, Deepa Mehta, Corey Hart and Jeanne Beker 2. Jeanne Beker 3. Jason Priestley


photos by george pimentel


photo courtesy of Villa leonardo gambin charity

Pasta & PaIsans CoMedY fUndraIser eVent

A night filled with comedy and cuisine: the Villa Leonardo Gambin Charity held its first annual Pasta & Paisans comedy fundraiser on June 3. Pasta and laughter were served up in bulk that evening, as Giuseppe the MC, Sandra Battaglini and headliner Frank Spadone supplied the comedy and entertainment. The event, which generates money for the charity’s Better Beds Fundraising Campaign, raised over $17,000 that evening. The proceeds will go toward purchasing three new state-of-the-art electric beds for the residents of Villa Leonardo Gambin. MP Francesco Sorbara presented Villa Leonardo Gambin Charity with a scroll honouring the event as well. Left to right: Rocco Grossi, Giuseppe The Mc, Mp Francesco Sorbara, Sandra Battaglini, Frank Spadone, Mary Grossi

noble sqUare

A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the launch of Noble Square, a development of luxury townhomes in Maple, was held on June 26. Headed by Cassavia Estate Homes, this development will take shape right in the heart of Maple off a serene residential street, with access to a main garden court and a ground-floor commercial space. Noble Square — which consists of three townhome model types — will be ideally located near shopping centres, community centres, schools and restaurants. The coowner of Cassavia Estate Homes, Joe Tiano; founder of Goldpark Group, Peter Cipriano; and Royal LePage broker Vivian Risi were all in attendance for the event. Noble Square will be located in the Keele Street and Major Mackenzie Drive West area.

photos by carlos a.pinto



1. Vivian Risi 2. Joe Tiano, Peter Cipriano and Pat Fontana

Aug/Sept 2017

City Life Magazine


People & Places ICff 2017




Spanning six Canadian cities, the sixth edition of the Italian Contemporary Film Festival honoured some of the biggest talents in new Italian and international cinema from June 8-16. Tony Nardi, two-time winner of the Genie Award for Best Actor, won the Special Achievement Award for Best Actor in the film La Sarrasine (The Saracen Women), a film that takes place in Montreal and focuses on cultural issues within society. Catania-born Leo Gullotta took home the Excellence Award for his work in L’Ora Legale (It’s the Law). Office Kingdom, described as “a creative portrait of modern bureaucracy,” won the Best Short Film Award. The 2017 ICFF had 180 screenings of Italian contemporary films and was hosted in cities such as Vancouver, Toronto, Vaughan, Hamilton, Montreal and Quebec City, with more than 30,000 spectators.




1. Leo Gullotta 2. David Rocco, Michelle Zerillo-Sosa 3. David Rocco, Sabrina and Anthony Montemarano 4. Karen Gordon (TFCA film critic) interviewing David Rocco 5. Franco Nero, Giancarlo Giannini, Danny Aiello 6. Maurizio Magnifico, Christian De Sica, Mara Cataldi, Cristiano de Florentiis



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City Life Magazine

Aug/Sept 2017

Skinprovement has been reinvigorated and rejuvenated. The spa celebrated the grand opening of its new location at Rutherford Road and Highway 400 back on June 17. The first 50 purchasers at the event received a swag bag of facial and skin products. Guests also took in the sounds of live music from a talented cello and violin duo. Spectators enjoyed refreshments, activities such as face painting, demonstrations of services Skinprovement offers, and also received prices. Vaughan mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua and MPP Steven Del Duca were in attendance for Skinprovement’s official ribboncutting ceremony. Vaughan MPP Steven Del Duca, mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua, Ashley Perri

photo courtesy of skinproVement


skInProVeMent grand oPenIng

People & Places

WhY sePteMber Is the best Month to start MUsIC lessons 1

nIssan, the MaIn aUtoMobIle Partner of the grand PrIx de troIs rIVIères

Nissan lovers, start your engines. For the third straight year, over 30 Nissan Micra Cup drivers will descend on “la belle province” (Quebec) for the highly touted 2017 Grand Prix de TroisRivières race, which will be occurring August 12-13. The race at Trois-Rivières is a part of a series of races, held over the course of six weeks, in Ontario and Quebec. Nissan, the premier automobile partner of the event, will have a variety of activities and exclusive offers on the race grounds. Guests who own a Nissan, and show their keys will gain access to the Nissan lounge area and hospitality tent. They will receive the opportunity to drive a Nissan GT-R on a simulator, enjoy refreshments and sign up for contests. Visitors will also get the chance to meet the series’ drivers if they enter the Nissan Micra Cup team paddock.

The Kollari Institute of Music is welcoming students back in grand fashion this September. With monthly concerts in the school’s stateof-the-art facility, award-winning lessons and a dedicated curriculum, students are in for a busy and exciting year. Director Rina Kollari looks forward to the September rush and welcoming students back, as well as meeting new ones. “September is the ideal time for students to start learning an instrument,” she says. “Students are motivated by the fresh start of a new school year, and their eagerness to learn is at an all-time high. And, as studies continue to show, music significantly increases performance on standardized tests, particularly in math. Therefore, learning an instrument creates a wholesome educational experience and develops students into wellrounded, multi-talented individuals.” For a free trial lesson, visit:

the oP teaM grand oPenIng

The Op Team, a top-100-ranked realty group in Canada, celebrated the grand opening of its new office on July 13. Headed by the dynamic duo of Nick and Angela Oppedisano, both of whom are well respected throughout the real estate industry for their professionalism, the Op Team welcomed over 100 guests to its grand opening at 3560 Rutherford Rd., Unit 43. The Op Team pulled out all the stops for the event, from a red carpet laid inside a large tent, to a live DJ, to the Remax Premier photo wall. The Op Team also served up some delectable dishes, such as pizza and juicy hamburger sliders, fresh cheeses, olives and fruits, all topped off with a giant Op Team logoed cake. The Oppedisanos expressed their gratitude for those who showed up at the event. Gabriel Bianchi Broker of Record/Owner of Re/Max Premier, with Nick and Angela Oppedisano of The Op Team


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3 1. Didier Marsaud, director, corporate communications, Nissan Canada; Kevin Bazinet; Dominic Fugère, general manager, Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières; Michel Barrette; and Jacques Deshaies, promotor of the Nissan Micra Cup. Photo: Frédérique Ménard-Aubin 2. Michel Barrette and his sons Martin and Nicolas 3. Michel Barrette and Kevin Bazinet

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Aug/Sept 2017

City Life Magazine


People & Places ItalIan PresIdent sergIo Mattarella VIsIts toronto

Italian president Sergio Mattarella graced Canadians with his presence on June 30 at a two-hour reception at the Ritz-Carlton in Toronto. At the event, Mattarella discussed the relationship between Italy and Canada, as well as his fondness for our nation as a whole. Mattarella referenced how Canada provided assistance and aid to Italy during a very tumultuous time a few months ago, when the country experienced a massive earthquake in its central region. In addition, Mattarella extolled the Italian-Canadians present and the pride they express toward their ancestral heritage. Local Italian-Canadian business owners and representatives were in attendance for the event. Dolce Media Group founders Michelle and Fernando Zerillo were both at the event as well. Being Italian immigrants themselves, they say they were “honoured� to attend that evening.


1. Fernando Zerillo, Joseph Manzoli 2. Sergio Mattarella 3. Daniela Nardi 4. Sergio Mattarella, Vaughan MPP Steven Del Duca 5. Sam Ciccolini, Lou Biffis, Dr. Barbara Cifra 6. Marino Moscone, Andrea Iervolino 7. Umberto Manca, Sam Ciccolini 8. Vincenzo Somma with guest, Michelle Zerillo-Sosa 9. Nick Di Donato, Fernando Zerillo 10. Fucsia Nissoli, Vince Mariani, Mary Mauti 11. Frank Stendardo, Danny Montesano, Sam Ciccolini, Gianni Mignardi, Enio Zeppieri, Lou Biffis, Carlo Tersigni

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City Life Magazine

Aug/Sept 2017


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Aug/Sept 2017

City Life Magazine



City Life Magazine

Aug/Sept 2017

City Life Magazine — August/September 2017  
City Life Magazine — August/September 2017