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HAPPINESS RECYCLED: SAVING 43 TONS OF WASTE

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JONATHAN ADLER WOWS CROWDS AT IDS20’S DREAMLAND

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THE TEACHERS & THE MINISTRY OF EDUCATION CONFLICT

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WOMEN’SMar/Apr ONLY 2020 CITYCLINIC LIFE MAGAZINE 5


VOLUME 18 ISSUE 1 | MAR/APR 2020

20

CONTENTS 32

COVER STORY

44

MURDA BEATZ: From a small-town misfit to a global music producer, songwriter and DJ, get up close and personal with a leading urban trendsetter

46 54 28

10 DESIGN NEWS: From doorbells to garages, dining room tables to vases, City Life shows what may put some fancy in your spring

18 HAPPINESS RECYCLED: Kalynn Crump’s ReBloom finally does what we all had wanted to in repurposing and composting event florals and greenery

28 STRENGTH IN BEAUTY: Artist, designer and stylist Rachel Burke’s tinsel creations for décor or dressing are over-the-top from Down Under

32 SPREADING THE LOVE:

Famiglia Baldassarre, once known to only a select few homemade pasta lovers, is now widely known as the best in Toronto

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38 THAT PENTHOUSE VIEW:

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Jasmine Lam’s One57 residence overlooking Central Park features some of New York’s most stunning designs and spectacular vistas

58 STRESS-FREE TEST: Yoga

Tree’s non-traditional approach is keeping Jason and Debbie’s clients quite calm and centred at five unique GTA locations

62 SCHOOL OF THOUGHT:

This winter of discontent in Ontario education will have a lasting impact long past any solution, and serious thinking is needed now

More stories inside … www.mycitylife.ca


CURIOUS ABOUT WHAT WE DO ?

VISIT OUR BRAND NEW WEBSITE. ANNOUNCING OUR PARTNERSHIP WITH TREE CANADA

www.uniquestoreямБxtures.com www.mycitylife.ca

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PUBLISHER’S NOTE PUBLISHER’S NOTE

Michelle Zerillo-Sosa Publisher/Editor-in-Chief

Believe In a world that is fast becoming soulless Be challenged to find your own soul Then make it selfless. When the television portrays only tragedy Be challenged to turn it off Spend your time working on your own humility. If you’re surrounded by people who are envious Be challenged to cull the herd around you Fill your life with those who bring joyousness. During the times you feel utterly hopeless Be challenged to claw your way out Understand that genuine happiness is timeless. Find your soul. Believe in yourself. Trust in your God. Love your family. Share your plenty. Lean when you need. Live out loud. Love heartily. Grow your humanity. Infect the worldZerillo with your faith. Fernando

Co-Founder/Creative Director — from The Wife by Iris Imeneo

natural disasters and extreme weather conditions, one could ask the same question now. In De Lio’s case, where was God when deadly bacteria infected his body, nearly taking his life and resulting in the amputation of both of his legs? In that article years ago, one of the questioned religious leaders — Warren Buffett replied that God was in the firemen going up the stairs to rescue the people in the towers. It’s a response that to this date gives me Michelle Zerillo-Sosa, Publisher/Editor-in-Chief comfort. Likewise, now, God is in the rescue workers bringing o what you love, and you won’t work a day in your life. In their own point of view. To any out there who don’t consider her work relief to Puerto Rico, Mexico and Florida. And God was in the other words, if you love your work, it won’t ever feel like “real” art, she begs to differ, but pays them no mind. doctors who fought to save Paul De Lio. He was with the family work. So says Warren Buffett, and we are of the same Debbie Fung and Jason Lu founded Yoga Tree Studios after leaving and friends who prayed for De Lio’s life and later, for his recovery. school of thought. We have been doing what we love comfortable careers in other industries that were not making them Today, just a few months after his ordeal, De Lio is filled with for more than 24 years. Here at Dolce Media Group, we have built happy. They defi ne success with others purpose andways having positivity and gratitude. Heasisliving readylife to help find to a a culture of people who love what they do, and for this we are very positive impact on the lives of people in their community. live with motivation. Dare I say, then, God also resides in De grateful. Loving what we do is our competitive advantage. Leandro Baldassarre owner Lio’s heart. See his story isonthe page 32. of Famiglia Baldassarre, a Passion cannot be faked. It is the fuel behind endless obstacles, shop widely acknowledged to make the my city’sthoughts best fresh Of course, it’s possible you do notsome agreeofwith getting up every timeell, youinfall, having the courage to distance yourself pasta. Passion for the food is his number one philosophy, the case of Yolanda Gampp, this could be on the whereabouts of God. We all know that one shouldwith not no from the naysayers who criticize your renouncing of a steady paycheque, compromises. a real possibility. If you’re not yet familiar with speak casually of politics or religion, for these are sensitive benefits and job security. Theseshe are ishardships that every artist and Chef(although Tim Freear to be isn’t creative in his kitchen Hawthorne her work, a multi-millionaire YouTube topics thelikes weather exactly a safe topicat anymore, business entrepreneurbaker knows(3.3 all too well. But in the end,that the sacrifi & But Drink and also helping the community; the restaurant million subscribers, is) …ces all Food either). perhaps youinwill be interested in our story about are worthwhile. provides freeFaith, training in kitchen new and restaurant positions thanks to her incredible imagination. the Bahá’Í a relatively religion with 5 to to 7 individuals million Ththis is is in a woman dreams upcover cakesstory for aon living —Lee not who adherents practising globally. If you believe in the betterment of With mind, wewho bring you our Shane face multiple barriers to employment. traditional tiered shapes flavours, but cakes that look like theAsworld, in unity, loveedition and service, findwith yourstories place of Lindstrom, a.k.a. Murda Beatz.and A music producer, DJ and songwriter you can see, this of Cityyou Lifemight is filled hotpassion dogs, huge candywork apples, in Fort flavours the people here. Bahá’Í’s believe equality of and all sexes, whose and hard has watermelons, taken him from Erielike to Los who have foundintheir passion clearlyraces loveand whatcreeds, they do. ultimate red isvelvet and chocolate cake … get the with idea. We andhope in theyou’ll harmony of science and Story page 74. be Angeles, Murda no stranger to the struggle. A You 26-year-old draw inspiration fromreligion. them and thaton you might In this day and age, wethe could all Although, use more unity, loveluck and will faith, Sweetofmother of God, this ladyyou hasshould the power a wealth connections, he believes neverto betempt definedeven by fortunate enough to do same. of course, only regardless of — what form it and takes. May youwill enjoy this strongest-willed with her never cakes!sell Heryourself belief isshort. that get the the beats of the moment,person and you should you so far hard work dedication take youedition all the of way. anything is possible, and with and power support City Lifenext Magazine. It,passionate, like life, isand yours to experience andfollow. do Until issue, stay happiness will surely Murda is one superstar millennial, butthe the love spending of of hisfamily entire and friends, the highest levels of success are attainable. Read with what you will. generation will eventually surpass that of their parents. They don’t her story on page 38. mind spending four dollars for a latte … and they look for products Speaking of belief, we all pray that our faith need never be that don’t damage the environment. They are active participants in tested the way Paul De Lio’s is. Many of us go through life how their life story is told. without ever having to question why tragedies strike our lives or We asked Rachel Burke, a multidisciplinary Brisbane artist, designer Michelle Zerillo-Sosa Zerillo-Sosa Fernando Zerillo the lives of others in the world. A few years back, we published Michelle andan stylist known forthe herdefi vibrant tinsel creations, what sheasking hopes for Publisher/Editor-in-Chief Co-Founder/Creative Director article about nition of God. I remember the Publisher/Editor-in-Chief the future. Her response: more empathy. She encourages all those who writer to pose this question to various religious leaders: “Where @citylifemag / @amorebagstoronto / @fernandozerillo @dolcetweets @amorebagstoronto readwas her God story in to follow in her footsteps andGiven have the share moments such as 9/11?” thecourage recent to state of

“The world does not belong to the pessimist”

CAN YOU HAVE DYOUR CAKE AND EAT IT TOO?

W

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PUBLISHER/EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Michelle Zerillo-Sosa • michelle@dolce.ca DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS Angela Palmieri-Zerillo • angela@dolce.ca ART D E PARTM E NT CO-FOUNDER / CREATIVE DIRECTOR Fernando Zerillo • fernando@dolce.ca SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER Christina Ban SENIOR UI/UX DESIGNER Yena Yoo WEB DEVELOPER Jordan Carter JUNIOR UI/UX DESIGNER Maria Korolenko E D ITO R IAL D E PARTM E NT FASHION & HOME DÉCOR EDITOR Michelle Zerillo-Sosa BEAUTY & WELLNESS EDITOR Angela Palmieri-Zerillo CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Rick Muller, Cece M. Scott, Myles Shane, Josh Walker COPY EDITORS AND PROOFREADERS Samantha Acker, Catharine Chen, Jennifer D. Foster, Nina Hoeschele CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Elaine Fancy, Alex Lukey, Adam Kane Macchia, Jesse Milns, Carlos A. Pinto SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER & CONTENT CREATOR Jessica Spera PR & COMMUNICATIONS COORDINATOR Cassandra Giammarco VI D E O D E PARTM E NT VIDEOGRAPHERS Daniel Cooper, Carlos A. Pinto PUBLISHER

ADVERTISING T: 905-264-6789 info@mycitylife.ca DIRECTOR OF MARKETING Angela Palmieri-Zerillo • angela@dolce.ca DIRECTOR OF NEW BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT Susan Bhatia SENIOR ACCOUNT MANAGER Mario Balaceanu

TOGETHER WE CAN ONE MILLION DOLLARS RAISED TO HELP VAUGHAN CHILDREN WITH AUTISM

Waves of Changes for Autism is excited to announce, since our establishment in 2016, over $1 million has been raised in support of Vaughan families affected by the financial burden of autism treatment. This success is a testament to the incredible generosity of our community and sponsors, like LIUNA! Local 506, the official 2020 Presenting Sponsor. In addition, 235 applications have been funded, 60 corporate sponsors have contributed, and 95 events have built awareness, in which thousands of like-minded community members have participated.

JOIN OUR GROWING LIST OF SPONSORS

OFFICE ADMINISTRATOR Tatiana Forero FRONT COVER Murda Beatz | Photo by Jesse Milns Styled by Ashley Galang | Hair & Grooming by Robert Amado / Amado Salon Wardrobe/Blazer: DIOR available at Holt Renfrew

City Life Magazine • Volume 18 • Issue 1 • Mar/Apr 2020 City Life Magazine is published by Dolce Media Group, 111 Zenway Blvd., Suite 30, Vaughan, Ont., L4H 3H9 T: 905-264-6789 • F: 905-264-3787 info@mycitylife.ca • www.dolcemedia.ca Subscribe online at www.mycitylife.ca or by calling 905-264-6789. City Life Magazine’s yearly subscription fee is $24. We accept Visa, MC & AMEX. Send cheque or money order to Dolce Media Group, 111 Zenway Blvd., Suite 30, Vaughan, Ont., L4H 3H9 Publication Mail Agreement No. 40026675 All rights reserved. Any reproduction is strictly prohibited without written consent from the publishers. DISTRIBUTION AND CIRCULATION City Life Magazine reaches 294,810 readers per issue through household distribution and event partnerships across Canada. City Life is also available to over 100 million digital consumers of Magzter Inc. and Issuu. Inquiries about where City Life Magazine is available for sale should be directed to Dolce Media Group: info@dolce.ca or 905-264-6789. ISSN 1206-1778 Next Issue: May/June 2020 The opinions expressed in City Life Magazine are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher or advertisers. Dolce Media Group does not assume liability for content. The material in this magazine is intended for information purposes only and is in no way intended to supersede professional advice. We are proud to be a Canadian company that has successfully published magazines for the past 24 years without any government funding or financial assistance of programs to cover editorial costs. It has all been possible thanks to the wonderful support of our readers and advertisers. ©2020 Dolce Media Group • www.dolcemedia.ca • Printed in Canada

www.mycitylife.ca

@citylifetoronto

www.facebook.com/citylifemagazinevaughan

@citylifemag

For more information about becoming a sponsor or to purchase tickets, contact info@wavesofchanges.ca

www.wavesofchanges.ca Mar/Apr 2020

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DESIGN NEWS

Bold colours, feature fixtures and golden finishes have us anticipating the coming spring season WRITTEN BY MYLES SHANE

Mendocino Native Stone Freestanding Tub − This luxurious free-standing bathtub is not only architectural eye candy, but also the ultimate aphrodisiac for relaxation www.nativetrailshome.com

Rope Weave Low Baskets − This multipurpose woven basket is the ideal storage option for decluttering while also enhancing your lovely home www.westelm.com

Spore True Aluminum Doorbell Button − The True Doorbell Button is unlike any other, combining a mixture of modern and traditional design. Remarkably, this doorbell can even fit houses built in the 1900s www.quasimodomodern.com

Knoll Topiary Dining Table − This dining table holds a secret. Its low base acts as light filters, which cause it to create patterns from the sun, enhancing nature. The table is supposed to resemble pruned shrubs that look like furniture

Banana Bud Vase − A modern-day vase, which is a wonderfully crafted design piece that provides a beautiful and slightly comedic addition to a home or office www.blackroosterdecor.com

www.quasimodomodern.com

Style Garage − This company produces a made-to-order furniture collection that is environmentally friendly, since it uses locally sourced sustainable materials www.stylegarage.com

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At Zilli Home, we travel the globe searching for the latest in home furnishings. Allow our team of expert Design Consultants to curate customized furniture and accessories that reflect your personal style. Begin your design journey today - visit us in store or online.

www.mycitylife.ca

Mar/Apr 2020

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DESIGN NEWS

Drake General Store − Toronto’s destination for charming Canadiana is equal parts community hub and boutique. It encompasses a mini Crows Nest Barbershop with a chic café serving ontap cold brew www.drakegeneralstore.ca

Louvre Mirror − A functional work of art that comes together offering three exclusive materials − leather, glass and brass − creating a modern chic design www.blackroosterdecor.com

Great Warmth − This deluxe space lends itself to creating a warm and welcoming area for a homeowner and their guests. It’s complete with oversized wall art, bench seating and warm textiles www.urbanbarn.com

The Canadiana Coffee Maker − For the coffee lover in you, this trendy wood coffee maker uses its pour-over method to brew coffee. It is exclusively assembled with a metal filter to reduce waste www.inabstracto.com

Canvas Art/Design Republic − Design Republic is a company that delivers top designs to residential clients, as well as hospitals, restaurants and retail outfits. This modern canvas art is one of their original selections and perfect for small spaces www.mydesignrepublic.com

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DESIGN NEWS

The Ocean Collection − The Ocean Collection consists of authentic pieces of cabinet handles designed to perfection, inspired by the wondrous vastness of the ocean floors. The collection complements cupboards, sideboards and cabinets www.pullcast.eu

Tempo Wall Clock − This featured wall clock has the ideal blend of historical design and fresh new art décor. It features stunning finished brush metal and will enhance any wall www.zillihome.com

Industrial Light Art/Design Republic − Design Republic’s Light Art is created to light up the night with its memorable style www.mydesignrepublic.com

Hanging Sculpture − The hanging sculpture’s true beauty lies in the vintage and found objects that produce the creation www.inabstracto.com

Moscone − This exceptional flooring and wall design company has been around for three generations and its work is exquisitely crafted using the best porcelain glass and mosaic tiles in the world www.mosconetile.com

Vintage Point Style End Table − This Point Style End Table is a depiction of MKT’s vintage collection, which provides a range of astonishing furniture and accessories, from midcentury contemporary designs to timeless designer pieces, carefully curated from all over Europe www.eltemkt.com

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YOUR TOP DÉCOR DESTINATION FOR ALL HOME FURNISHING, DECOR & INTERIOR DESIGN NEEDS With 38 years of experience, Direct Interiors is your top décor destination for residential and commercial furniture. Our showroom houses two floors of quality designer furniture that is customizable to each client’s preference. We are also known for our exquisite interior design services. Our highly talented, in-house stylists and window coverings expert can assist with floor plans, room layouts, colour coordination and furniture selections that reflect your lifestyle.

905-791-9660 | 2005 Clark Blvd., Brampton, ON www.mycitylife.ca

www.directinteriors.com |

@directinteriorsfurniture |

@directinteriorshome Mar/Apr 2020 CITY LIFE MAGAZINE

15


ASK THE FINANCIAL EXPERT

I am a Money Sense approved financial advisor!

INDEX FUNDS? ETFs? I’m a certified financial planner!

I know a lot about the market!

I’m a chartered financial consultant!

I can help you with your financial goals!

WHICH ONE IS BEST FOR YOU? Tony De Thomasis, President of De Thomas Wealth Management, tells us more

• ETFs require investors to buy an ‘even lot’ Q. Why are INDEX FUNDS and ETFs worth knowing • ETFs don’t usually offer a dividend re-investment service about? IsA.Your Financial Advisor Money Sense Approved? Welong-term are. investors prefer Index Funds • Buy and Hold Things change, and it’s important that investors keep up • Index mutual funds don’t require a commission to buy with those changes and are at the curve of what’s happening. or sell INDEX FUNDS and ETFs are both new, revolutionary l MoneySense Approved • Index mutualTony funds allow shareholders to re-invest their products takingFinancial the worldAdvisors by storm but it’s important to President & advisor, De Thomasis, ave completed a rigorous accreditation Hon BSc (Math), CFP, RFP dividends automatically, commission free realize the difference between the two, and understand which ocess to ensure they meet high standards is best for you. r fair and transparent fees, quality service and Independant financial advisor since 1987 xperience. While Index Funds are marvelous products, Advisory feesETFs as lowand as 0.25% your most important decision is your asset allocation. Q. In today’s market, the BIG question is INDEX De Thomas Wealth Management MoneySense advisor can provide you the tdt@dethomaswealth.com At De Thomas Wealth Management, we can tailor or ETFs? est in-classFUNDS service you’re looking for, at a ETF Funds, RRSPs, RRIFs, TFSAs, RSDPs, Income your investment objectives and goals to suit your needs. ir price. A. Index mutual funds and ETFs (exchange traded funds) are Tax Planning, Retirement & Estate Planning service with experienced advisors. For similar but a few small differences can mean a lot to investors. ...AndPersonalized more. independent advice on ETFs, indexing and investment a complimentary, please give no us aobligation call or an email. We have been • ETFs trade like stocks – Investors canAct buynow: + sellcontact shares onus forplanning, consultation. providing independent financial advice since 1987. the open market

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For your free consultation Please email us tdt@dethomaswealth.com or call us 905.731.9800

eySense Approved rating is created for information purposes only and is not intended as financial advice. MoneySense Approved is not responsible for any advice or other communication provided to an investor by ncial Advisor. Rogers/MoneySense makes no representations or warranties as to the suitability of any particular Financial Advisor and/or investment for a specific investor. Visit MoneySense.ca/approved for the full ology.

Tony De Thomasis BSc, CFP

Any information contained herein is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, financial or investment advice, or an offer of any security for sale. Mutual funds are not guaranteed, their values change frequently, and past performance may not be repeated. Commissions, trailing commissions, management fees and expenses all may be associated with mutual fund investments. Please read the prospectus before investing. The discussion of stocks, indices and/or any non-mutual fund investments is for discussion/education purposes only and is not to be construed as being offer for sale. Risk tolerance measures the degree of uncertainty that an investor can handle regarding fluctuations in the value of their portfolio. The amount of risk associated with any particular investment depends largely on your own personal circumstances including your time horizon, liquidity needs, portfolio size, income, investment knowledge and attitude toward price fluctuations. Investors should consult their financial advisor before deciding as to whether it is a suitable investment for them.

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Live Your Best Life

ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY Modern treatment techniques are used to minimize discomfort, accelerate treatment and achieve optimal results. FUN AND FRIENDLY ENVIRONMENT Enjoy our refreshment area, snack bar, game room, iPad station, monthly contests and Smile Rewards program.

EXTRAORDINARY SMILES Every detail is considered to maximize the beauty of your smile. DEDICATION Our doctors can be contacted 24-7 to accommodate emergencies in a timely manner. CONVENIENCE Evening and weekend appointments are available.

Contact us to schedule your FREE CONSULTATION First orthodontic consultation is recommended at age 7 â&#x20AC;¢ No Referrals Necessary 3611 Major Mackenzie Dr., Unit 2, Vaughan, ON

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We are proud sponsors of our local sports teams. www.mycitylife.ca

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RECYCLED

HAPPINESS RECYCLED

ReBloom was founded in 2014 by Kalynn Crump and is Canada’s leading innovator in repurposing and composting event florals and greenery that would otherwise end up being improperly thrown out

WRITTEN BY MYLES SHANE

K

alynn Crump never saw a flower she didn’t love. After being a bridesmaid one too many times, it broke her heart to see the flowers being thrown out immediately after an event. She felt she had no other choice but to bring the abandoned flowers home. Subsequently, her house was becoming a jungle. “At one point, regardless of how many florals I gave away, I just had too many,” Crump says. The oversaturation of flowers was her impetus to create ReBloom. ReBloom makes flower recycling and composting simple. After an event has ended, the ReBloom team picks up the florals. They pack up the flowers in their van and return to their studio where the magic begins. ReBloom repurposes the flowers, using them to produce fresh, smaller bedside table arrangements, 18

CITY LIFE MAGAZINE

Mar/Apr 2020

and then delivers them to non-profits or charitable organizations. After the arrangements have brightened more people’s lives, ReBloom recollects the flowers for composting. Two weeks later, the company donates the soil that’s been created to local community gardens, farmers and landscapers. To date, ReBloom has diverted 43 tonnes of floral waste from landfills and delivered more than 30,000 floral arrangements to charities across Canada. Crump started ReBloom with the sole agenda to repurpose and properly compost event florals and greenery that would otherwise end up in landfills. However, along the way there have been many challenges. When she started out, people and corporations were used to throwing flower arrangements in the garbage. And when Crump first explained ReBloom’s mission in those

early days, there was some resistance. “They talked a good game about wanting to change and be more environmentally conscious, but when you presented them with a cost for recycling their flowers, we got a lot of ‘not right now’ and ‘no thank you,’” Crump explains. “Things have significantly changed thanks to the awareness around the ongoing harm of single-use and straight-tolandfill items.” Even the general public and big businesses who were apprehensive about the idea at the beginning are now changing their philosophies. “We are being hired not only by wedding couples, but also by  large national and international  companies such as Samsung and Telus, as well as commercial properties such as Soho House  and  the CrossIron Mills shopping centre.” After being in the business for more than six years, Crump feels the most rewarding part has been bringing the repurposed flowers to people in seniors’ homes, hospitals, hospices and shelters. “We get a chance to brighten up their day, even if just for a moment. The smiles  coupled with  the disbelief that you see on their faces that someone has done something kind for them will fill your soul.” www.rebloomflowers.ca @rebloom_flowers www.mycitylife.ca

PHOTOS COURTESY OF REBLOOM FLOWERS

Kalynn Crump, owner of ReBloom, recycles happiness


YOUR PAINT & DÉCOR QUESTIONS

DON’T BUG US!

For all your paint and decorating needs, visit our 20,000 square foot superstore. Consultations available in-store or in-home. Call for details. www.mycitylife.ca

Mar/Apr 2020 CITY LIFE MAGAZINE 4190 Steeles Ave. W., Woodbridge, Ont. | 905-850-4040 | www.steelespaint.com

19


design

Caesarstone and Jonathan Adler

Collaborate to Create

Dreamland Installation The Instagrammable installation debuted at the Interior Design Show 2020, Canada’s largest design event, from January 16–19

T

he successful and hugely popular collaboration at this year’s Interior Design Show (IDS20) brought together the vision of luxury quartz brand Caesarstone and renowned potter, designer and author Jonathan Adler. The installation was manufactured by Unique Store Fixtures, a brand known for its work with in-store displays, retail environments and residential projects. Across the four-day event, the IDS20 20

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welcomed more than 50,000 attendees, including 7,000 Opening Night Party guests, 14,000 trade professionals and 30,000 weekend visitors. Given that Caesarstone is typically a material associated with straight lines and sharp angles, Adler wanted to see if it could be manipulated to explore a softer, more free-flowing perspective. The result is Dreamland, an installation described as surreal and ethereal, featuring cloudscapes and neo-classical

columns inspired by Caesarstone’s headquarters, located in the old Roman port city of Caesarea. “We had such a fun time working with Jonathan for this year’s collaboration. He has an impeccable commitment to craftsmanship and luxury that we are so excited to bring to life with his creative and unique take on Caesarstone,” says Elizabeth Margles, vice-president of marketing at Caesarstone North America. “His design is so inspirational www.mycitylife.ca

PHOTOS BY ALEX LUKEY

WRITTEN BY JOSH WALKER


The Dreamland installation sought to introduce a more free-flowing perspective to quartz

Adler is a potter, designer and author with retail locations worldwide

and imaginative, and [it] really pushes the use of the product for all aspects of the home.” The installation was constructed of more than 75 slabs of Caesarstone, each weighing more than 453 kilograms. It was put together by a team of 30 installers from Unique Store Fixtures in the leadup to the event. “There’s the engineering portion of it which doesn’t translate as well on paper as when we put it into real life, but that’s where we specialize,” says Ferro Corrente, COO of Unique Store Fixtures. “We work together with the client and the designer, in this case Caeserstone and Jonathan Adler, and we were able to complete this project quite quickly with all the manufacturing processes we have under one roof.” www.mycitylife.ca

His design is so inspirational and imaginative, and [it] really pushes the use of the product for all aspects of the home — Elizabeth Margles

With so much of the installation’s importance placed on the perspective of material, light also played a big part in its delivery. As a result, Caesarstone worked with Adler to create dedicated LEDs, ensuring the correct colour was used throughout. This year marked the fourth annual collaboration between Unique Store Fixtures and Caesarstone. “Although every project we do is unique, this one is especially unique because of the creativity behind the project and the collaboration of our team coming together as a single unit to really push and get the show open on time, ready for visitors,” says Marco Corrente, vice-president of Unique Store Fixtures. This collaboration marks the seventh year of Caesarstone’s Designer Mar/Apr 2020

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The installation is made up of 75 slabs of Caesarstone, each weighing more than 453 kilograms

Collaboration Program, which was launched to invite designers to challenge the status quo of how their product is used. The initiative has supported the visions of interdisciplinary designers internationally. In 2019, Caesarstone collaborated with Dutch designer Marije Vogelzang to create Seeds, a sensory experience that explored the relationship between design and food through a series of honeycomb-like exhibits that led the visitor through memories, connectivity, happiness and the environment. In 2018, Snarkitecture was the firm of choice and created an Altered States installation, focused on the potential of the kitchen island. “Working with Caesarstone — both their premium products and their talented team — is fab,” says Adler on his collaboration this year. “What could be better than using dreamy materials to create a dreamy environment? Nothing.” www.jonathanadler.com @jonathanadler www.caesarstone.ca @caesarstoneca www.uniquestorefixtures.com @uniquestorefixtures www.mycitylife.ca SCAN THIS QR CODE FOR THE BEHIND-THE-SCENES FOOTAGE OF THE DREAMLAND INSTALLATION

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For The Love of Food

Breaking Barriers

TO COOKING

In a city filled with many restaurants, Toronto’s Hawthorne chef Tim Freear likes to be creative in the kitchen and keeps things fresh by staying ahead of food trends INTERVIEW BY MICHELLE ZERILLO-SOSA

Q. What is the deal with Hawthorne Food & Drink, and what is the experience you hope to deliver to your patrons? A. Hawthorne’s deal is that we provide free training and then assist in finding good jobs for individuals who have faced barriers to obtaining employment. We also work with as many local suppliers as possible; this allows us to contribute to building a better local economy and, in turn, helps to create jobs. We aim to deliver a quality casual dining experience, using local sustainable ingredients prepared and served by our participants alongside industry 24

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I can find inspiration almost anywhere, but I get especially inspired when tasting new ingredients, visiting wine country or foraging in nature

working with our trainees, and one of them has an “aha” moment. You see the light in their eyes, a smile breaks out on their face and they understand a technique or concept that eluded them before. Their excitement excites me. Q. Where do you like to go to get inspired as a chef? A. I can find inspiration almost anywhere, but I get especially inspired when tasting new ingredients, visiting wine country or foraging in nature.

Q. Define comfort food for us. A. I would define comfort food as something that has sentimental value, reminds you of a time when you felt safe, cared for and loved. It can soothe you after a hard day or wash away stress.

Q. What is one change you would like to see in your field? A. One change that I think is long overdue is the angry chef who is temperamental, disrespectful and condescending. The media loves to portray this because it makes for good television, and it, unfortunately, leads some cooks to believe that this behaviour is required to be successful. Not surprisingly, most of the best chefs I have worked with ruled with respect, inclusion and empathy. Their teams were loyal and would do anything to help maintain the chef ’s exacting standards.

Q. What excites you about your job? A. The simplest things get me excited sometimes. Most often lately is when

Q. What is the one thing you like about your industry? A. I like the fact that in this industry,

professionals imparting their skills and knowledge.

www.mycitylife.ca

PHOTOS COURTESY OF HAWTHORNE FOOD & DRINK

Q. Can you tell us a bit about your past experiences that have led you to this career path? A. Alongside my jobs working in restaurants and retail, I volunteered my time and worked by helping in my community. I worked as a peer counsellor, organized and curated charity auctions, planned fundraising and events with Vancouver Pride Society. After years of running my own boutique catering company, I decided it was time for a change. I jumped at the opportunity to work in a hospitality environment with a focus on helping people enter the industry.


PHOTO BY ASH NAYLER PHOTOGRAPHY

Chef Tim Freear, of Torontoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Hawthorne Food & Drink restaurant, uses his kitchen as a classroom, where he offers free training to those who have faced obstacles to employment

www.mycitylife.ca

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there is so much room for personal interpretation and very few limits as to what that can lead to creatively. Q. What are some of your favourite foods and dishes you enjoy making at your restaurant? A. I have a few favourites. One for sure is our Bloody Caesar Flank Steak. My mouth waters thinking about the combination of the spicy, crisp elements of our Canadian Classic Cocktail garnishes with the flavour of a well-seasoned medium-rare flank steak. Finishing that bite off with the creamy comfort of the celeriac Yukon gold mash, perfect. I also really enjoy working on our market-fresh features; it gives me a chance to have some fun and experiment, as well as use ingredients that are available only for a short time. Q. How do you stay competitive in a city with so many restaurants? A. One of the ways we stay competitive is by keeping things fresh and trying to stay ahead of the curve on food trends — all the while maintaining our commitment to using as many locally

sourced and sustainable ingredients as possible, something that is important to us and our loyal customer base. Additionally, we try to keep our prices reasonable for the quality of the food and beverage we serve. I think we also get a bit of an edge because our customers know that by letting us serve them, they also get to be part of our social enterprise movement and help make a positive difference in people’s lives. Q. Tell us a bit about where you grew up, your family history, etc. A. My mother emigrated from the Netherlands as a teen, and my father was born on a homestead and raised on a farm. Our family moved around a fair bit, residing in Alberta and B.C., with me eventually moving to Toronto. While most of our time was spent in the city, we also lived on farms. Living on the farms gave me hands-on experience of raising and growing the food that ended up on our table. Q. When you were growing up, did you always want to be a chef?

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A. Coming from a large family, the middle child of five, I started helping in the kitchen when I was quite young. I took to it quite naturally and knew it was what I wanted to do. My first job was as a dishwasher when I was 14. I couldn’t keep my nose out of the kitchen and snuck onto the line to learn as much as possible. Q. What would you tell a younger version of yourself, now that you have gathered enough experience? A. Not to worry so much about what other people think, trust yourself and your instincts. You know what you’re doing, you got this. Q. What is a favourite restaurant to eat at, aside from yours? A. My current favourite restaurant is True True Diner. They have a great atmosphere and incredible food. They work with a social conscience and are trying to improve the employment landscape in our industry. I am, however, a bit partial because it is owned by a friend of mine and her husband. Q. Are you a fan of anything in particular? A. I am not typically a fan of celebrity chefs. I am, however, a fan of authenticity, contributing and inclusion, and chefs who exhibit those qualities. Q. What drives you crazy most days? A. One thing that drives me crazy most days is when consumers often misunderstand what it means to be a social enterprise or not-for-profit business. There seems to be a general expectation that we offer, or have the ability to offer, our products and services at a discounted or lower rate than comparable for-profit businesses. The reality is, any money the organization makes is reinvested into the programs and services we offer, it’s not going to owners. Q. What do you love about Toronto? A. I love the culturally diverse food scene; it allows me to experience and learn new things right outside my door. hawthorneto.ca @hawthorne_to

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Art of Living

Q&A WITH RACHEL BURKE

Immersive tinsel creations for party décor or dressing as if you were the life of the party, with glam dresses all imagined and created by Rachel Burke

LIVING LIKE AN ARTIST WITH NO APOMOGY

This multidisciplinary Brisbane-based artist, designer and stylist is known for her vibrant tinsel (yes, tinsel) creations such as jackets and dresses Q. Tell us about your earlier years and career choices that led you to your current career as a designer/artist. A. Early on, I was solely focused on having a career in the performing arts. I was studying musical theatre at the Victorian College of the Arts, when I very suddenly decided to change directions and instead try hand-making garments and wearable art pieces. This 28

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sudden switch didn’t entirely come out of nowhere; I had made costumes and artworks throughout high school and recreationally at university (but I’d never really taken it super seriously). This changed and very quickly evolved in 2011, when I began the blog i make. you wear it. This was the first space that I documented the things that I was making, and things just really took off

from there. With [the help of ] this blog, I made garments for friends and ran dress-making projects to raise money for charity, and this eventually encouraged me to start my own handmade clothing label. From the opportunities that my blog and label generated, I was hired by an online store to work for them as a commercial designer. This taught me so www.mycitylife.ca

PHOTOS COURTESY OF RACHEL BURKE

INTERVIEW BY MICHELLE ZERILLO-SOSA


1 2

3 1. Apomogy is an ongoing community art project about saying “sorry” with a pom-pom 2. A tinsel chair fit for a queen 3. Rachel Burke wearing one of her creations

many lessons about running a business, but it also taught me that I couldn’t find creative fulfilment with a desk job. Whilst I loved a regular paycheque, I quickly discovered that I needed to keep my personal art practice alive at home if I didn’t want to be bored to death by the 9–5 slog of producing work solely for commercial consumption. And so I did. For seven years I worked as a womenswear designer, developing garments for Australian retailers, and by night I would focus on dreaming up my own creations without a care in the world as to their commercial viability. In 2017, I was finally able to go out on my own, to work as a freelance artist and run my own online store selling the wearable pieces I created.  Q. From where does the inspiration for your art/fashion pieces come? A. Going back to my initial love of performance, I adore bringing characters to life and creating works that fit into a story or narrative that I have created. I also draw a lot of inspiration from my www.mycitylife.ca

All art is subjective, so you’re entitled to think as you wish. By that same logic, I’ll be over here believing that my work is art own childhood memories and the things I used to love when I was little. I love reinterpreting these nostalgic fantasies through my own adult lens and bringing these dreams into reality. I also take a lot of inspiration from the art world and apply the ethos of some of my favourite artists to my own working processes. Artists such as Yayoi Kusama, Hilma af Klint, Frida Kahlo and Pipilotti Rist are some of my favourites.

Q. How has your life as an artist changed now that you have a baby? A. Having a baby has had a huge impact on my art practice and most significantly on the time I have to produce work. So much of my day is now taken up by the responsibilities of parenting, and so I need to prioritize the work I deem most important and to procrastinate a whole lot less. Whilst I don’t have the luxury of endless time to myself anymore, having a baby has definitely made me more driven and determined to produce work. I guess, in part, because I feel like motherhood could easily consume my whole life if I let it. Every collection or artwork I have produced since having a baby feels like a massive achievement and just reaffirms my belief in the fact that you can be a mother and still practise as an artist/ designer — it just initially takes some time to work out a good routine and schedule to enable you to do so. Q. What are your favourite places to visit, from where you draw inspiration? A. For me, there is nothing like a visit Mar/Apr 2020

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to Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) and the State Library [of Queensland]’s design/art section in Brisbane, Australia, for me to feel really creatively recharged. Additionally, I always love travelling to interstate or overseas galleries and documenting my favourite artworks; I really find huge amounts of inspiration from these trips. Next on the agenda is a trip to Naoshima in Japan, a small art island that I am dying to visit. Q. What defines you as an artist? A. I think my work is defined by a love of colour, play, freedom and personal storytelling. Q. What words of wisdom would you want to share with our readers who want to follow you in this field of art and fashion? A. I would encourage readers to see the value in telling their own story and sharing their own unique point of view. If you’re looking for fresh inspiration, get off the Internet, go outside and get scribbling in your notebook. I find my best designing happens when my

imagination is unplugged and left alone with some pencils.

playing around with them when I got home.

Q. What do you say to those who do not consider your work art? A. I would say [that] all art is subjective, so you’re entitled to think as you wish. By that same logic, I’ll be over here believing that my work is art.

Q. Making mistakes is part of the growing process as an individual and as an artist. What mistakes do you wish you could have avoided, or were those necessary to grow in your role today? A. On a very basic level, I wish I had gotten a bookkeeper much earlier on, as being unsure about administrative things like tax, superannuation, GST definitely caused me so much anxiety when I first went out on my own. Now, having hired a bookkeeper, that stress has been entirely lifted from my shoulders; it was a good lesson in delegating the tasks that you really don’t enjoy, so you can focus more time on the stuff you’re good at. Otherwise, there isn’t much I wish I could have avoided in my creative journey, as I believe that failures and tough lessons along the way really made me a smarter businessperson, or helped me to grow as an artist. I really like to think of really difficult situations now as growing pains. I try to have faith that when something feels really tough, it’s because I am in the process of learning or developing, so that I can become better or stronger — much like building up a muscle.

Q. What makes you happy on a daily basis? A. My beautiful and supportive family (Daisy dachshund included), my cosy house, delicious food and being able to produce my work. Q. What is one of your favourite memories as a child or an artist? A. Some of my favourite memories of childhood definitely take place in the primary school art room. I remember always being overcome with wonder by all the art supplies and possibilities that lay at my fingertips. When I think back to these memories, I see my tiny hands filled with gems, sequins and pipe cleaners. I would often stuff the supplies into my pockets, so I could continue

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Q. What is on your playlist? A. Lots of Angel Olsen, Marlon Williams, First Aid Kit and a sprinkling of Dolly Parton. Q. What is in your closet that you wish you could still wear? A. I still have some dresses from a brand I started/ended many years ago now called The Hiding Tree, but sadly, they have all seemed to shrink a bit over time, and now the hems are so short. I actually started repurposing some this week, though, by adding some ruffles to the hems, so maybe I’ll be able to trot them out again after all. Q. Where do you see your art taking you in the next few years? A. I am always just trying to bring my dreams into reality and capture these little scenes, textures and memories that pop into my head. I really just hope to continue having the opportunity to www.mycitylife.ca


share my work and innovate as much as possible. Q. Who is a role model you look up to and why? A. I really look up to other artists or designers who have embraced their own esthetic and wholeheartedly run with it. I really look up to other female designers such as Vivienne Westwood, Betsey Johnson and Molly Goddard.   Q. What are your three favourite things about living in Brisbane? A. I love how Brisbane feels so much like home to me — it’s so relaxed and inviting. My three favourite spots would have to be: - QAGOMA for art; - Gauge for eats; and - James Street for fab shopping and hangouts. Q. Do you believe in luck? A. I do. I believe in luck and fate and destiny. I’ve watched too many movies and read too many books to believe that luck can’t exist. But when it comes to making things happen, I do believe that a combination of luck  + preparation  + hard work leads to success. I think luck alone will only get you so far. Q. What is the best apology you had to write for one of your clients? A. I haven’t had to write too many personal apologies to clients; however, I have shared thousands of apologies for people via a project I run called Apomogy (which, incidentally, is all about saying sorry with a pom-pom).  There are so many amazing submissions of apology through this project, but one of my favourites was one of the first: “I’m sorry I can’t find the words to tell you I miss you.”  Q. What is one thing you hope for our society and our world at large? A. Generally, I always hope for more empathy and kindness in situations or political environments where these sentiments are lacking, particularly when it comes to human rights and caring for the world.

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Edible Passions

FAMIGLIA BALDASSARRE: PASTA MADE PERFECTLY

Once a secret ‘pasta speakeasy,’ Famiglia Baldassarre on Toronto’s Geary Avenue is now widely recognized as making the best homemade pasta in the city WRITTEN BY RICK MULLER

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PHOTOS BY CARLOS A. PINTO

Owner Leandro Baldassarre’s ready smile and easy manner reflect his passion for Italian foods


Baldassarre and his team have immense pride in taking the time and effort needed to create the best in authentic handmade Italian pasta

There is a lot of cultural pride in this type of work, and I love it. Tradition is there for a reason. Tradition is faultless

I

n a metropolitan region of close to 6.5 million people, there are always a few good secrets, especially in the restaurant business. Foodies and urban tastemakers all seem to be members of some secret fraternity, knowing where to find the best of food and drink, and some of those secrets stay below the radar. One of those secrets was Famiglia Baldassarre, owned by 35-yearold Leandro Baldassarre, generally acknowledged by many of Toronto’s best restaurants as the leading maker of a variety of homemade pastas in the city. Baldassarre is also the founder, and it’s here where his story takes a most delicious turn, as for many months he was operating what best could be termed a “pasta speakeasy.” Known

www.mycitylife.ca

only to neighbourhood locals and savvy foodsters, the secret to entry was not a keyhole and a password, like in the days of prohibition, but social media. Born in Montreal and raised in Vaughan, Ont., Baldassarre’s love for pasta began through his love for his Italian family, rolling gnocchi and pinching ravioli with his grandmother. “My grandmother would wake very early when it was still dark, and she always made me a soft-boiled egg,” he says in a recent interview with City Life. “I can still remember the glow of the light over the stove, and that would be the only light on. To this day, I still eat two eggs a day.” He took to Italian food immediately and was cooking professionally at Splendido at age 18, learning to make

dough for egg-yolk ravioli, pappardelle and capunti. At some restaurants, his brother worked front-of-house, and he now works in Montreal. Baldassarre moved to Italy at the age of 23, where he worked in a Michelin-starred restaurant before returning to Toronto to start his own business. “I wanted a business built on two things,” he says in a recent interview with City Life. “The quality and pride of our work, and the quality of life outside of work. Great pasta and a great home life, and the standard food industry didn’t provide that.” In 2010 he rented basement space on College Street and began his wholesale operation to create his pasta, quickly gaining a respected reputation and selling to his old haunt of Splendido, Mar/Apr 2020

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PASTA MADE PERFECTLY

Baldassarre’s passion is almost palpable

@famiglia_baldassarre

The varieties of fresh pasta are almost endless and always delicious, including perciatelli, cavatelli, agnolotti, duck-stuffed cappellacci, tortelloni with ricotta and lemon, and chestnut-filled buckwheat medaglie among them. Daily lunch specials are also available.

as well as Nota Bene, Reds, Stock and eventually multiple Oliver & Bonacini locations. “I had a lot of contacts from working in the restaurant business, so I started making pasta and selling it to my old friends,” he recalls. Baldassarre quickly outgrew the basement. In 2017 he chose a location at 122 Geary Ave. and did his due diligence with the city about required licenses to both manufacture and serve his pasta, but when he applied for his food license, he was told the city’s previous information supplied to him was wrong. A 20-year-old bylaw prohibited eating establishments on Geary Avenue. Undeterred, for months his pasta speakeasy continued to operate. Using Instagram’s Stories function (where posts disappear after 24 hours), he would share his daily menus among the “members” of the so-called Societa Pasta Baldassarre. It became one of Toronto’s best food secrets, and to this day Baldassarre remains connected to his customers through social media. But armed with passion and logic about the reality of modern Toronto, he 34

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fought city hall and won. Clearly not a secret anymore, customers can dine in the small front space or take meals to go, and menus offer wholesale fresh pasta, beverages and gelato from Bar Ape Gelato, another proud, self-made entrepreneur. They also offer fresh daily pasta lunches served Wednesday to Friday, all true to Baldassarre’s passion and his Italian traditions. The first thing you notice about Baldassarre is his easy and relaxed smile; he’s clearly enjoying his work and is at home in his environment. His passion is almost palpable. “Passion for the food is my No. 1 philosophy, and to compromise that was never an option,” he says. “There is a lot of cultural pride in this type of work, and I love it. Tradition is there for a reason. Tradition is faultless.” www.famigliabaldassarre.com @famiglia_baldassarre www.mycitylife.ca SCAN THIS QR CODE FOR THE BEHIND-THE-SCENES FOOTAGE OF FAMIGLIA BALDASSARRE

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Why the money you save is worth more than you think Jason Polsinelli, head of the Polsinelli Financial Advisory Group, offers advice on how you can get more from the money you put away

W

hen you’re young, saving is easy. You’re told by your parents to put a little away for a rainy day and, when you do, you get to watch your funds grow. As an adult, though, it’s different. Saving money can take on a number of forms, and requires much more coordination, strategy and advice. Q. What is saving? Doesn’t it just involve putting money aside in a bank savings account? A. Today, saving money involves much more than that. Rather than simply stockpiling wealth, more people are seeking comprehensive solutions to achieve specific goals. Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs), for example, are now available to most Canadians through their financial institutions and offer various benefits, such as flexibility when accessing wealth. For those looking to save and invest in their retirement, Registered Retirement

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Savings Plans (RRSPs) allow them to do so while employing tax efficiency strategies. Similarly, Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs) are a great, tax-sheltered option for saving for your kid’s education, eligible for grant money from the federal government. Strategically utilizing accounts like these for specific goals offers unique benefits compared to just setting money aside in a savings account. It’s important to know what’s available to you so you can make the best decision for you and your family. Q. It seems there are a lot of different savings vehicles out there. How do I know what is right for me and my family?

A. Everyone’s financial circumstances are different. For some individuals, saving might involve paying down their mortgage to create more home equity, while others might be focused on a future purchase like buying a car or cottage. Each family has its own unique set of dreams, goals and complexities. Therefore, goal-based savings require goal-based solutions, including a Total Wealth Plan. That’s where having a wealth advisor can be of tremendous value by helping you turn that complexity into clarity. It’s important to know what is available to you so that you can make the best decision for you and your family based on your unique circumstances and goals. Q. I’ve heard of financial planning, but what is a Total Wealth Plan? A. Total Wealth Planning involves looking at the entirety of an individual or family’s current circumstances and future aspirations, including retirement, children’s education, debt and banking management, future purchases, budgeting and saving. In more comprehensive cases, it may also involve will and estate advice, philanthropic planning, corporate succession advice, pension analysis, and incapacity and insurance planning. From that, a set of customized solutions is provided. When done effectively, goalbased planning can be hugely rewarding, saving families time, money and stress. Q. Where can I get a goals-based Total Wealth Plan? A. Standard retirement planning exists at most financial institutions and specializes in providing financial planning services. Total Wealth Planning, on the other hand, requires someone who knows your circumstances, understands your goals inside out, and can produce an easy-tofollow roadmap toward attaining them. This level of sophistication requires planning experience and a complete understanding of the array of professional wealth management disciplines. I would recommend that the professional you choose not only has the right designations, but the right depth of experience. PHOTO BY CARLOS A. PINTO

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DESIGN

MADE IN MANHATTAN Jasmine Lam’s new project, One57, offers panoramic views of Central Park and New York City’s skyline

WRITTEN BY JOSH WALKER

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he architect and interior designer recently finished work on the luxury space, which aimed to bring a calming atmosphere to contemporary design. The finished apartment sits at 4,500 square feet and includes three bedrooms and four bathrooms, as well as spaces to relax. To do this, Jasmine Lam applied the experience she has gained in creating

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luxury private residences, offices and retail stores for more than 23 years. Working with a colour palette of black, grey and cream, the space’s ceilings stretch high, complete with cove lighting, while the introduction of large oak panels gives each of the home’s areas its own definition. As a designer known to include an impressive array of artworks in her finished designs, Lam fully fitted One57 with furniture, art www.mycitylife.ca

PHOTOS BY MARIETTA LEUNG

Jasmine Lam founded her New York-based design studio in 2002


One57 overlooks Central Park and the Manhattan skyline

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and accessories that enhance the space’s esthetic. Lam founded her studio in 2002 in New York. Since then she has completed projects around the city, as well as in Miami, South Florida, the Hamptons and beyond. She’s also the recipient of a number of awards, including New York Cottages & Gardens Magazine’s Innovation in Design award for both 2017 and 2018. Alongside her design work, Lam is a member of the MoMA Contemporary Arts Council and Architecture + Design Circle. She’s also a philanthropist, supporting causes around breast cancer research, education and sustainability. www.jasminelam.com @jasminelaminteriordesign The space is largely designed with a black, grey and cream colour palette

Read Q & A with Jasmine online at www.mycitylife.ca

AUTHENTIC RUSTIC ITALIAN FLARE BLENDED WITH A NEW WORLD CHARM

Mario Turco

Owner and Executive Chef

Since opening in October 2018, Cento40 has become the hot spot in the vibrant Market Lane neighbourhood of Vaughan. This Italian trattoria offers a true taste of Italian cuisine, featuring both traditional classics and modern staples, in a relaxed and inviting atmosphere. This rustic elegance makes Cento40 ideal for a casual relaxed meal yet sophisticated enough for a special night out.

140 Woodbridge Ave., Vaughan, ON. | 905.605.8775 www.cento40.com

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www.mycitylife.ca


HOTEL OWNERSHIP OPPORTUNITY TO ENJOY LIFE’S FINER PLEASURES We are launching our new Hotel Vie Professional Offices Ownership Opportunity. Dubbed the “Vaughan Enterprise Centre,” this element will encompass the 2nd and 3rd floors of Hotel Vie and will be available for sale, exclusively to LP par tners. Reserve your office space today. SALES OFFICE LOCATED INSIDE

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MARRIOTT® AND TRIBUTE PORTFOLIO® ARE REGISTERED TRADEMARKS OF MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL, INC., A DELAWARE CORPORATION (THE “LICENSOR”) AND ITS AFFILIATES. NEITHER THE LICENSOR NOR ANY OF ITS SUBSIDIARIES, AFFILIATES, OFFICERS, DIRECTORS, AGENTS, EMPLOYEES, ACCOUNTANTS OR ATTORNEYS IS IN ANY WAY PARTICIPATING IN, APPROVING, OR ENDORSING THE OFFERING DESCRIBED HEREIN, ANY OF THE UNDERWRITING OR ACCOUNTING PROCEDURES USED IN THE OFFERING, OR ANY REPRESENTATIONS MADE IN CONNECTION THEREWITH AND NONE OF THEM WILL RECEIVE ANY PROCEEDS FROM THE INVESTMENT DESCRIBED HEREIN AND INVESTORS WILL NOT RECEIVE ANY INTEREST IN THE LICENSOR OR ANY OF SUCH OTHER PERSONS. THE LICENSOR HAS NOT ENDORSED OR APPROVED INVESTMENT PURSUANT TO THIS OFFERING. THE GRANT BY THE LICENSOR OF ANY FRANCHISE OR OTHER RIGHTS TO LONG VALLEY HOSPITALITY INC. (THE “COMPANY”) IS NOT INTENDED, AND SHOULD NOT BE INTERPRETED, AS AN EXPRESS OR IMPLIED APPROVAL OR ENDORSEMENT OF THE COMPANY OR THE INVESTMENT DESCRIBED HEREIN, OR OF ANY STATEMENT REGARDING ACTUAL OR PROJECTED FINANCIAL OR OTHER PERFORMANCE. NEITHER THE LICENSOR NOR ANY OF ITS SUBSIDIARIES, AFFILIATES, OFFICERS, DIRECTORS, AGENTS, EMPLOYEES, ACCOUNTANTS OR ATTORNEYS, WILL IN ANY WAY BE DEEMED AN “ISSUER” OR “UNDERWRITER” OF ANY INVESTMENT DESCRIBED HEREIN. ALL FINANCIAL STATEMENTS, PROJECTIONS OR OTHER FINANCIAL INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS DOCUMENT OR SIMILAR WRITTEN OR ORAL COMMUNICATION HAVE BEEN PREPARED BY, AND ARE THE SOLE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE COMPANY. NEITHER THE LICENSOR NOR ANY OF ITS SUBSIDIARIES, AFFILIATES, OFFICERS, DIRECTORS, AGENTS, EMPLOYEES, ACCOUNTANTS OR ATTORNEYS HAVE ASSUMED, AND NONE WILL HAVE, ANY LIABILITY OR RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANY FINANCIAL STATEMENTS, PROJECTIONS OR OTHER FINANCIAL INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS DOCUMENT OR SIMILAR WRITTEN OR ORAL COMMUNICATION. THE LICENSOR MAY HAVE THE RIGHT TO REVIEW AND APPROVE OF THIS DOCUMENT.

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From food to fashion, fragrance to furniture, these are the editor’s picks to know this season WRITTEN BY RICK MULLER

EDITOR’S PICKS

an industry leader, bringing together the worlds of safety and style. www.agv.com

www.tomford.com 5. Embrace your minimalist vibe with Aritzia’s collarless, cape-style Futura Jacket. www.aritzia.com 6. When it comes to motorcycle helmets, AGV brand is

Prick is a bouquet of scents crafted to evoke the sweetness of rose, while laced with thorn-filled sharpness.

www.oreo.com 4. Born out of Tom Ford’s private rose garden, Rose

the new, be it flavour or friendships. It is located at the luxurious SoHo Met Hotel. www.pizzeriamoretti.com 2. Increase the value and appeal of your property with Aquaspa Pools, a brand that can customize its offerings to your individual needs. www.aquaspapools.ca 3. Streetwear brand Supreme unveiled a new collaboration with OREO, resulting in sought-after packs of Supreme-stamped, bright-red cookies.

1. Pizzeria Moretti offers an experience focused on

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7. The Art Gallery of Ontario’s AGO Bistro, host to seasonal meals made with high-quality ingredients, is an award-winning restaurant designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry. www.ago.ca 8. Accessorize your look with Shop M, the Toronto-based boutique on a mission to empower women. www.shopmboutique.ca 9. Founded on nostalgia and vintage design, Sun Jellies brings the British seaside to life with a collection of colourful bags. www.sunjellies.com 10. Designed around greenery of the Mediterranean, the Filicudi dining chair is created by Marcantonio for Qeeboo. www.marcantoniodesigns.com 11. Leone Napoli is a menswear collection crafted in Napoli, Italy, inspired by the country’s design philosophies and passions. www.leonenapoli.com 12. Powerful and portable, the Roku Streaming Stick offers on-the-go entertainment. Users can browse via the remote’s search function or a dedicated smartphone app. www.roku.com

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MURDA (ING) D BEATZ The odds were stacked against Murda Beatz; realistically, there was every reason for him not to make it. Feeling like a misfit who was on the outside looking in, Murda grew up in small-town Ontario, a long way from the music scene. But that didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t deter him

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t was an inauspicious beginning for Shane Lee Lindstrom, known famously as Murda Beatz, music producer, songwriter, DJ and beats-maker. His reddish-blond hair, with its tiny front flip, and his neatly trimmed beard and funk designer sunglasses are rocked by the cascading neckline of solid gold, diamond-encrusted necklaces, some of which weigh 800 grams and are carved in white and rose gold lightning bolts with his initials. The bling, which Murda loves, and in some cases actually designs, costs anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000 (one of his buckles costs $30,000). Growing up in Fort Erie, Ont., a small town on the Niagara River directly across from Buffalo, N.Y. (population 30,000-plus), Murda, who now calls himself the sauciest white boy in the game, felt more like

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www.mycitylife.ca

PHOTOS BY JESSE MILNS | SHOT ON LOCATION AT ONE KING WEST HOTEL, TORONTO PHOTOS BY JESSE MILNS | SHOT ON LOCATION AT ONE KING WEST HOTEL, TORONTO FASHION & WARDROBE STYLIST: ASHLEY GALANG | HAIR & GROOMING: ROBERT AMADO / AMADO SALON FASHION & WARDROBE STYLIST: ASHLEY GALANG | HAIR & GROOMING: ROBERT AMADO / AMADO SALON AUTOMOTIVE TRANSPORTATION: POLICARO GROUP PORSCHE | VIDEOGRAPHER: DANIEL COOPER AUTOMOTIVE TRANSPORTATION: POLICARO GROUP PORSCHE | VIDEOGRAPHER: DANIEL COOPER

WRITTEN BY CECE M. SCOTT INTERVIEW BY CASSANDRA GIAMMARCO


Shirt - Moschino available at Hudsonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Bay Tank top - Ralph Lauren Trackpants - Palm Angels available at Nordstrom Sneakers - Saint Laurent available at Saks Fifth Avenue Jewellery - two-tone white/rose gold Cuban - tennis chain with rose gold Murda logo Watch - rose gold Audemars Piguet with baguettes in the band

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“I HAVE MY OWN SENSE OF FASHION STYLE” 1

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@murdabeatz 1. At the 2019 SOCAN Awards – accepting the International Achievement Award 2. Chillin’ with Snoop Dogg 3. Spinnin’ the beats 4. Floor Seats Tour 5. Chillin’ at the Eiffel Tower, Paris 6. Leanin’ into a cool whip

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a misfit than a part of the lit scene. A leftie (everyone else he knew was righthanded, which made him feel even more like an outsider) who couldn’t skate and didn’t know how to play hockey, Murda was juiced to find his edge, the thing that would both define and represent him. Surrounded by classic rock and heavy metal as a kid, Murda’s dad, whom he credits as being one of the only people who believed in him from the start, was hoping that his son would pick up the guitar. But Murda, now an in-demand star collaborator (“I will cook up a beat and decide who it fits and then send it off to them”), taught himself how to play the drums instead. By the time he was in Grade 11, Murda was creating the beats that were a precursor to his galactic and cosmic-like rise through the hiphop, rap and trap music scene. (Trap is a subgenre of dance music, which originated with southern rappers such as Waka Flocka Flame, Three 6 Mafia, Gucci Mane and Young Jeezy in the late 1990s. Large on attitude, the trap sound is expressed through the ting-tinging of brass, triangle and triple hi-hats, loud kicks, snares and low-end 808 brass samples.) Interestingly, as with a lot of extraordinary-but-at-first-glancelooks-ordinary avant-garde trailblazers, Murda’s high-school principal couldn’t see the vision, telling Murda that there was only one Dr. Dre. But Murda, who believes a person is destined to be who they are, knew once he’d created his first beats that it was exactly what he was meant to do. Eschewing business school, which Murda originally planned to attend (because he loves to make money), he became, instead, a relentless and dedicated fanatic of networking (especially starting out). He used every social media platform out there in order to create both visibility around his name and, just as importantly, connect with the rappers he wanted to create his beats for and with. Although he started out on the drums (he had an all-black Pearl drum set), after Murda was introduced to and bought FL (Fruity Loops) Studio (FL is a full-scale software music production environment), he sold his drums, then traded in his guitar for an AKAI MPK49 keyboard, so that he www.mycitylife.ca


WHEN YOU GET TO A CERTAIN LEVEL IN PRODUCING, YOU WANT TO KEEP EVOLVING, SO THE NEXT STEP FOR ME WAS PRODUCING AND PUTTING COLLABORATIONS TOGETHER UNDER MY OWN NAME

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could create his beats on a piano. In 2014, when Murda met Cory Litwin, who became his manager, his circles of influence grew exponentially. The two would go out to nightclubs constantly, totally jamming a fakeit-till-you-make-it attitude, leaving people wondering just who the “treathim-like-a-star white boy” was. It didn’t hurt of course that Litwin chilled in the same circles as Drake and the Weeknd. “When I first met Cory, he wanted me to sell a lot of beats, so we could make money,” Murda says. “I was selling beats on the Internet for $50, $150, $250. I’d go to Western Union and pick up the money. I was going to start making SoundCloud — and start selling beats for $50 — but at the last minute I decided not to do it. I didn’t want that to be my worth. So I decided to stop selling beats altogether.” Migos, whose genres cover hip hop, SoundCloud rap and trap music, gave Murda his big start as the in-house producer for their 2015 song “Pipe It 48

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Up,” which reached 38 on the Billboard chart. “The industry started to shift in 2015,” Murda says. “Once streaming started in 2016, it changed everything. Streaming builds up the numbers; it makes everything more accessible. And you can make money as a producer.” Major collaborations the next year (2016) with Gucci Mane (“Back on Road”), PARTYNEXTDOOR (“Like Dat”) and French Montana (“No Shopping”) ignited Murda’s trajectory. A favourite story that Murda likes to tell happened one night when he was chillin’ at Drake’s home in Toronto, playing NBA 2K18 with him, and the rapper ordered up a beat that included a female voice. Murda, never one to waste an opportunity, created the beat on the spot for Drake, which ultimately turned out to be the collaborative five-times platinum track “Nice for What,” which debuted in the top spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart (for the week ending April 21, 2018), and for which Murda received production

credits. The song features Drake and Lauryn Hill, with Big Freedia and Letitia Wright bridging. One of the song’s breakdowns, “Gotta, g-g-gotta, gotta, gotta make that jump, jump, let’s go,” mirrors Murda’s own jump forward from making beats to producing them, ultimately becoming a much-soughtafter artist producer in his own right. “When you get to a certain level in producing, you want to keep evolving, so the next step for me was producing and putting collaborations together under my own name,” Murda says. “It’s fun to get into a new genre that is brand new. And I love bringing on new talent. I feel like it’s a canvas that you can paint and tell a story in a different way; it’s exciting.” To that end, Murda recently signed English hip-hop/pop musical artist Adam Halliday to his publishing company, Murda Gang. “Adam is an amazing artist with a fresh new voice that no one has heard before,” Murda says. “And it’s fun to work with a new www.mycitylife.ca


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I WILL COOK UP A BEAT AND DECIDE WHO IT FITS AND THEN SEND IT OFF TO THEM

and up-and-coming-artist. It’s more open and experimental. It’s probably going to be the best music I have ever made.” Rapper G-Eazy, who took Murda on tour with him in 2018, has said that “he’s almost like an alien, because his origins don’t seem to make a lot of sense. He’s from the middle of nowhere in Canada, but somehow he’s making some of the most culturally relevant music.” The year 2019 was a supersized one for Murda. His Floor Seats Tour,

which featured him performing crowd favourites like “Butterfly Effect,” “MotorSport” and “Nice for What,” also highlighted special guest A$AP, and in Toronto (Murda’s favourite stop on the tour), it highlighted local artists Puffy L’z, Chromazz, Jay Whiss, Booggz and Young Smoke. “It was an amazing experience,” Murda says. “The mosh pit was crazy.” In the fashion-meets-music category, Murda collaborated with PnB Rock and Nicki Minaj on the song “Fendi”

for the FENDI Prints On collection, a partnership between Nicki Minaj and Silvia Venturini Fendi. “It was dope,” Murda says. “PnB played the ‘Fendi’ song for Nicki, and she said it was her favourite. Having worked with Nicki before (‘Motor Sport’), I feel we have good chemistry; we should do more work together.” This year, Murda is appearing as a mentor on an episode of Rap Mentors, a show hosted on a Forbes app called Forbes88. The show features rappers such as Snoop Dogg expounding on the hardships and roadblocks they encountered on their way to the top. “It was dope,” Murda says. “I hope my input inspires youth and anyone else who needs inspiration, inside or outside the music industry.” Back in the day, it was pretty much de rigueur for Canadian musicians to leave Canada and go to the United States in order to make it big in the big time. Things have changed. It would be hard now to outclass the worldclass behind-the-boards Canadian producers who are influential changemakers in shaping the future of hip hop and rap. These include Drake,

Jacket, shirt and jeans - Palm Angels available at Nordstrom Watch - Roger Dubuis available at Royal de Versailles Jewellers

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MY SIGNATURE IS IN ALL MY BEATS; PEOPLE RECOGNIZE IT IS A MURDA BEAT Boi-1da, the Weeknd, Nav, Noah “40” Shebib (producer of Drake’s albums), WondaGurl, Paul “Nineteen85” Jefferies, PARTYNEXTDOOR, Tory Lanez and, of course, Murda Beatz. A 26-year-old small-town Ontarian with a wealth of connections, one of Murda’s singular strengths is his savviness to keep going, to not be defined by the beats of the moment. He has no interest in being a hip-hop producer who’s reached his “best-before” date. In fact, Murda is “stan” (dedicated), as far as his music is concerned. “My signature is in all my beats; people recognize it is a Murda beat. When people who are big fans of the music hear the beat, they know it’s a Murda beat; it’s the way the beat sounds.” While Murda might be a supersized Gen Y millennial, ages 22 through 36 (his net worth is estimated at $3 million), the spending power of his generation will vastly exceed that of their parents. This age group has money for $4 coffees, high-end groceries and products that respect the environment. With a current annual spend of US$600 billion and a forecast of that spend increasing to US$1.4 trillion as millennials pay off loans and earn higher salaries,1 there is money to spend on product quality, trusted brands and jewelry. And while they often have different overall habits from previous generations, millennials still have a traditional view of love, but when it comes to buying engagement rings, they want a say in the design.2 That said, Murda is not one to forget his roots. Recently, he donated $20,000 to Fort Erie Secondary School’s music department, his old alma mater. “I plan to go back there in a couple of months and see what instruments the school bought, meet the kids and take pictures,” Murda says. It’ll be dope. www.murdabeatz.com @murdabeatz

Sources: 1. www.lexingtonlaw.com 2. Picup Media, February 26, 2019

www.mycitylife.ca SCAN THIS QR CODE FOR THE BEHIND-THE-SCENES FOOTAGE OF MURDA BEATZ

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A DV E R TO R I A L

GREAT TO HEAR

Losing your hearing can be an isolating experience — but it doesn’t have to be. Great to Hear is empowering Vaughan residents like Assunta to overcome the challenges of hearing loss

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88 years young, Assunta Baratta first began to experience hearing loss several years ago. “At first, her hearing loss caused us to question her cognition” due to her frequent misunderstandings, explains Assunta’s son Frank. “Mom didn’t want to go out for fear of ridicule … one of us had to accompany her, which limited her independence.” That all changed in 2013 when they visited Great to Hear for a free consultation. The clinic’s staff “were and still are professional and caring,” Frank says, with “impeccable service” that makes Assunta feel special. Assunta was given hearing aids, a Assunta and Frank remote control and a Bluetooth device that streams sound from the TV directly to her hearing aids. She has used these devices for the past six years, and they “have improved her overall lifestyle and general health — we no longer need to raise our voices or repeat ourselves. She now participates in family discussion around the table,” Frank shares. No longer insecure for fear of giving a wrong answer, Assunta is “happier, more confident and has better self-esteem.” Most importantly, she has been given back her independence. “It is our responsibility to recognize signs of hearing loss that may be misinterpreted as cognitive issues for our loved ones,” Frank says. “And it costs nothing for a hearing test at Great to Hear.” “We are truly grateful to Ida, Clara and Kris for helping our mom and giving us the opportunity to fully enjoy her company again.”

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automotive

MERCEDES-BENZ 4MATIC ALL-WHEEL DRIVE PROVES ITSELF IN WINTER’S TOUGHEST CONDITIONS On a frozen lake in a Canadian winter, Mercedes-Benz puts itself up against the season’s extreme conditions WRITTEN BY RICK MULLER

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PHOTOS BY ELAINE FANCY

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he ultimate test of the handling and manoeuvrability of any high-performance vehicle is how it handles on ice and snow, and in January Mercedes-Benz staged the most exciting test drive on a racetrack made of ice in Gimli, Man., the very heart of Canadaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s frozen north. In the middle of deepest and darkest winter, Gimli wind chills can reach -40 C. That is where dangerous cold lives, an environment few encounter on this planet, where the snow squeaks, the ice is like concrete and poured liquid freezes before it hits the ground. It was the ideal location for the custom-built racetrack, created on a frozen lake. The thickness of the ice on this lake reaches three feet, which is safe enough to park a commercial airliner and perfect for testing the handling of Mercedes-Benz and Mercedes-AMG vehicles featuring 4MATIC all-wheel drive. The Mercedes 4MATIC all-wheel drive features a four-wheel drive system designed to increase traction in slippery conditions and maximize vehicle handling through winter storms and around tight corners. Its fully integrated technology reacts instantly to any driving scenario, with each wheel responding individually for advanced driving control. This more advanced system comes with reliable quality and engineering to ensure the superior performance you would expect Mercedes-Benz to deliver. The custom-built racetrack featured multiple twists and turns, becoming almost a frozen Le Mans. Through this exclusive test drive, MercedesBenz 4MATIC proved its worth and innovative engineering, with drivers reporting expert handling, traction and the ability to manoeuvre these extreme conditions of tight corners and slippery surfaces. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s doubtful whether regular drivers will ever encounter such ultimate winter driving conditions, but in proving its gripping control in such an extreme environment, the MercedesBenz 4MATIC all-wheel drive system certainly demonstrates great confidence that it can handle whatever Old Man Winter may choose to throw our way. www.mercedes-benz.ca @mercedesbenzcanada www.mycitylife.ca

Mercedes 4MATIC allwheel drive features fully integrated technology that reacts instantly to any driving scenario, with each wheel responding individually for advanced driving control

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FASHION JET SETTER

SUPERMODEL JESSICA MINH ANH ONCE AGAIN BREAKS BOUNDARIES WITH THE RUNWAY ON THE RUNWAY WINTER FASHION SHOW AT JFK AIRPORT

PHOTOS COURTESY OF JESSICA MINH ANH

WRITTEN BY RICK MULLER

Minh Anh transformed the runway at JFK Airport into a fashion runway for her Winter Fashion Show 2020

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Vietnamese model Jessica Minh Anh’s big, bold and beautiful shows have always raised the bar in large-scale fashion productions

F

ashion has long been one of the world’s most expressive means of creativity and innovation, and no one defines that more than supermodel and fashion show producer Jessica Minh Anh. Her recent Winter Fashion Show 2020, Runway on the Runway, at JFK Airport in New York, set a new standard in the industry. Minh Anh cleverly transformed the airport’s runway into a fashion runway, complete with a visually impressive backdrop featuring DHL Express’s international fleet of aircraft, helicopters and electric vans and trucks. More than a modern fashion statement, the production highlighted the globally sustainable supply chain of shipping and logistics that is so important as a part of the sustainable fashion industry. “I want to bring an innovative mindset to sustainability initiatives,”

www.mycitylife.ca

I want to bring an innovative mindset to sustainability initiatives in fashion shipping and logistics

she says about the exclusive fashion show production. “Since shipping and logistics are such a critical part of the fashion industry, it is important to highlight the option of green logistics solutions, which help minimize environmental damages and reduce transport-related emissions. I’m proud to partner with companies who prioritize the health of our planet, and DHL is certainly on top of that list.” The Runway on the Runway New York show marked Minh Anh’s 25th highly successful production since her history-making catwalk on London’s famous Tower Bridge. The Vietnamese model has long used the world’s most famous landmarks in staging her elaborate productions. Fashionistas fondly recall her groundbreaking, large-scale productions staged at the Eiffel Tower, the new One World Trade Mar/Apr 2020

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Minh Anh’s impressive backdrop included DHL Express’s international fleet to promote sustainability in fashion shipping and logistics

Center building in New York, on a glass bridge 4,000 feet above the Grand Canyon and the Hoover Dam. The extraordinary catwalk at JFK Airport showcased eight exquisite haute-couture, ready-to-wear and jewelry collections from four continents. Minh Anh herself opened the show at the entrance of a Boeing 767-400, before dropping down onto the runway itself. She was wearing a brilliantly crafted royal red dress by Peruvian artist Ani Alvarez Calderon. An expert at fabric manipulation and the practice of repurposing, Alvarez Calderon gives her pieces a second life using the alteration of shape and form, contributing to sustainability. The production was also a celebration of global fashion, including famous 56

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Japanese powerhouse Yumi Katsura honouring femininity with an extravagant bridal collection, bringing a classically romantic yet sensual feel to the runway. Vietnamese ready-to-wear brand RAP introduced a youthful and elegant collection in the shade of pink pastel, while focusing on simplicity. Vietnamese prêt-à-couture brand VUNGOC&SON showcased a fashionable winter collection bursting with colours and flowers, with Minh Anh herself appearing in a structured red dress made of hundreds of flowers. Lebanese haute couturier Dany Atrache showed his passion for great versatility with a powerful collection of nude, white, pink, gold and black gowns made of fluid fabrics, which effectively reflected a woman’s personality.

A bold jewelry collection by Blossom Box, designed in New York City and handcrafted in India, was accompanied by couture dresses from Australian fashion house Portia & Scarlett, introducing “once upon a time” Hollywood intrigue and glamour to the catwalk. Fashion has long been the industry of innovation and out-of-the-box creativity, and with her JFK Airport Runway on the Runway Winter Fashion Show 2020, Jessica Minh Anh once again, whether it’s a tarmac or above the Grand Canyon, is making the world her runway. www.jessicaminhanh.com @jessicaminhanh www.mycitylife.ca


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success

PHOTO BY CARLOS A. PINTO

Debbie Fung and Jason Lu, founders of the flourishing Yoga Tree enterprise

THE YOGA TREE OFFERS A NEW PERSPECTIVE

Jason and Debbie are the co-owners of Yoga Tree, a non-traditional yoga studio that has five locations across the GTA WRITTEN BY MYLES SHANE

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Our hearts are so full when we hear stories from our students on how we’ve helped them in their wellness journey, both physically and mentally different styles. We wanted to change this perspective. We wanted to break from the tradition of only practising one lineage of yoga, and instead encourage students to explore different styles to find the one best suited for their needs. This idea is what inspired Yoga Tree, the desire to create a place for a community of like-minded individuals who saw their practice as something that would grow and change as their life goals also changed,” says Debbie. Jason and Debbie’s yoga philosophy

is reflected in the name of their studio, Yoga Tree. Debbie explains: “We wanted our studio to be diverse in our offering, and the three leaves on our logo represent the three lineages of yoga we offer: Hatha, hot yoga and Ashtanga.” Yoga Tree’s first studio opened in Thornhill, Ont. “It grew organically as we got to understand our students’ needs better. We realized that many of our students worked downtown, but lived uptown and wanted to have one Yogis finding their inner peace

PHOTO COURTESY OF YOGA TREE

ason owned an Internet marketing company, and Debbie was a buyer at Canadian Tire. They were both leading comfortable lives, but neither was truly passionate about their career. The duo had met while attending the University of Waterloo and a friendship quickly blossomed. While there, Jason studied biomedical sciences, and Debbie double majored in business and environmental studies. After graduation, Debbie and Jason both developed an unparalleled enthusiasm for yoga. Jason recalls: “We both took up yoga because we wanted to find an activity that would help with our injuries and stress. Debbie has scoliosis, and [yoga] has helped her back pain. I injured my shoulder, but after a few classes, my pain disappeared. As we continued to practise, we realized that it was not just a physical form of exercise, but also an exercise in mental relaxation.” The pair then decided to fly to India and study their passion. Upon returning to Toronto, their separate careers began to evolve. They were relatively happy but felt something was missing. They wanted more. They had both become infatuated with yoga and wanted it to become more than a few hours out of their week — they wanted it to be an all-encompassing part of their world. Debbie and Jason decided to return to India. Debbie remembers: “Jason studied with two yoga teachers while training in India. He was focusing on Classical Hatha and also Ashtanga Vinyasa in Mysore, India. When Jason decided to extend his stay, I decided to join him and study Ayurveda, which is a sister lineage to yoga.” After returning to Toronto, Jason embarked on teaching private classes. “Since he ended up spending so much time travelling between classes, we began thinking about creating our own community, where students could find us.” The idea for the type of studio they planned on opening was based on offering a type of yoga space Toronto had never seen — a studio that didn’t follow the traditional order of things, but instead offered a new perspective. “Back in the day, studios in Toronto only practised one style of yoga, and it was often frowned upon to mix

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PHOTO COURTESY OF YOGA TREE

Yoga students benefiting from handson instruction

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Creating a sense of well-being through yoga postures

PHOTO BY CARLOS A. PINTO

pass they could use at different studios on either weekends or weekdays,” says Debbie. Today Yoga Tree has five locations in the GTA: three in Toronto at Bay and Dundas, Richmond and Spadina, and Yonge and Eglinton, and one each in Vaughan, Ont., and Richmond Hill, Ont. Each location reflects the demographics of its neighborhood. The Bay and Dundas location and the Richmond and Spadina location cater to a younger demographic who are searching for more active classes. In comparison, Yoga Tree’s location at Yonge and Eglinton accommodates a more welltravelled client base. In the early days of the business, the pair were working non-stop to achieve their dream. “We quickly learned that owning a business is very much like having a newborn child. Don’t expect much sleep and make sure you give it your fullest attention and unconditional love. In time, it will grow,” says Debbie. Debbie offers the following advice for people new to the scene: “For

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those new to yoga, we offer beginner classes that provide students a balanced introduction to Hatha poses. We also offer a series of therapeutic, low-intensity classes in the Yin and restorative style. Experienced yogis tend to lean toward our Hatha and hot yoga classes, which feature a wider range of yoga postures.” At the same time, Debbie stresses the health benefits of yoga. “Depending on the type of yoga you practise, the benefits may vary. For instance, if you want to strengthen, you can practise Ashtanga, Vinyasa or hot yoga. If you like to stretch, Yin focuses on that. Yoga can help you mentally decompress after a long day or help you to recover from a sports injury. Regular practice can provide a source for mental and physical healing.” Recently, Yoga Tree has embarked upon teaching meditation classes and offering on-site holistic nutritional services. The meditation classes provide students time to relax and focus in a guided meditation. At the Bay and Dundas centre, students can also sign up for massage therapy treatments and personalized nutrition consultations. Over the years, Jason and Debbie have seen just about everything at their studios. “One of our favourite memories was meeting a multi-generational family who practised together at the studio. The grandmother would practise Yin and restorative yoga. The mother would be in a Hatha class, and the daughter would be taking a hot yoga class. It was a way for them to bond through yoga, and we were happy to see them,” says Jason. After 13 years of owning a thriving business, Jason and Debbie seem to have found the secret to success. “Ultimately, success is achieving happiness and health. Our hearts are so full when we hear stories from our students on how we’ve helped them in their wellness journey, both physically and mentally, Success for us is living with purpose and we do that by having a positive impact on the lives of people in our community,” says Jason. www.yogatree.ca @yogatreestudios www.mycitylife.ca

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education

The ABCs of

NEGOTIATION Facts, misunderstandings, misperceptions: Where are the disconnects between what Ontario teachers and the Ontario government believe are the correct protocols and efficiencies to guarantee and secure the educational futures of our children? WRITTEN BY CECE M. SCOTT

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he ABCs of education are being parsed in a whole new way as the conflict between Ontario’s educators and the government’s Ministry of Education escalate. In this new curriculum of negotiations, the A stands for (rotating strikes) action; the B exemplifies bargaining, (and butting heads); and the C - well, that is where things get contentious, depending on which side of the page you are on. Teachers and educational staff look at the current government’s approach as one that is centred on cost cutting, mandatory online learning, and classroom size increases. The Ministry of Education’s position is one that they say has no basis in cost-cutting but rather is focused on an increased investment in students’ education. Indeed, while there are a lot of prickly discussions and heated arguments around cuts to the public education system, the vision and objective for Stephen Lecce, minister of education in the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario, is, he says, to deliver learning and economic opportunities for every child, irrespective of faith, heritage, orientation 62

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or social economic status. When asked how the government’s position matches this vision of investment, which is contradictory to the teachers and unions’ concerns around impactful cuts to the educational system, Lecce rejects the premise of the question. “We are spending more on public education, at the highest levels ever recorded in Ontario history, under any government or under any premier, because we believe in public education. We are on track to spend $1.2 billion more this year than we did last year; we are doubling the mental health investment to $40 million, as well as $3.1 billion in special education. We are embracing core competencies such as STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – and we are putting an emphasis on going back to the basics in mathematics as well as mandating financial literacy in our curriculum. That is why we are investing at the highest levels for mental health, to make sure that classrooms are safe and positive learning environments for all students.” As in any labour dispute, there are ever-changing points of position before the Rubik’s Cube clicks into place. The

accusations of misrepresentation and cross-intentions between the Ministry of Education and the teachers’ unions are akin to a two-way mirror that is missing the glass. In fact, the trust factor between the two sides is thinner than lake ice on a warm spring day. Liz Stuart, president of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA), states by email, “The Ford government has been working hard to mislead Ontarians about education spending. The truth is that in the 201920 education budget, the core grant for elementary and secondary students was cut by $630 million. Another $230 million in funding for programs and supports for vulnerable students was eliminated. The ‘increase’ is due to the so-called attrition protection fund, which is meant to mask the effects of the government’s class size increases and mandatory e-learning regime until the next election, and the new child care tax credit, which has nothing to do with elementary and secondary education. The government’s own projections show that the plan is to essentially freeze education funding going forward. By 2021-22, when we take into account www.mycitylife.ca


inflation and increases in student enrolment, the Ford government will be underfunding core education costs by $1.1 billion.” Harvey Bischof, president of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF), states that, “The government has announced its intention to cut one out of every four high school teacher positions, thousands of education worker positions, people who support special needs and assist at-risk students, and institute mandatory e-learning programming for the purpose of increasing class sizes. All of these cuts and changes will lead to demonstrably decreased student success and lower graduation rates. We know that every dollar invested in education returns $1.30 to the broader economy, and every dollar taken out of education costs the economy $1.30. These are short-sighted savings at best. This conflict is about so much more than compensation. It is absolutely about quality of education; members desire to best support the students that they work with, face-to-face on a daily basis. Our philosophy is that education is not a mere expense; it is an investment in Ontario students’ futures as well as Ontario’s future economy.” And Joy Lachica, president of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Toronto, (which is under the umbrella of the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario [ETFO], a union of 83,000 elementary public school teachers, occasional teachers and education professionals across Ontario), posits that the government’s proposal for special education funding is less than half of what it was in its 2017 collective agreement. “We know that the minister is grossly misrepresenting what the landscape is,” Lachica says. “We see an alternate agenda from the government, which is to bring in vouchers, charter schools and private schools. We want to see our public education intact and preserved for the future of our children going forward. In Toronto alone, since the government took power, we’ve seen about $70 million in cuts to

staffing programs and resources in our elementary schools, including social workers, psychologists and special needs workers. Classrooms have been deeply impacted by cuts that have occurred over the last year. And what we are now seeing is another $150 million that has been proposed for cuts to programs and resources going forward. We see that this is the time to come together with Ontarians, we are building a movement – we are saying no cuts to education.

the classroom. Of course, all of the other kids are terrified of her. She needs a child and youth worker (CYW) to work with her. There is also an autistic child who is abusive and has hurt many children,” the teacher says. The most impactful changes that this teacher has seen since she first started teaching are, a decrease in resources and an increase in class sizes- with one of her classes having 36 students. “In a current split class of 26 students, (10-11 years old), seven are on individual education plans IEP, and I have two autistic kids with no support for them. I do a lot of extracurricular work as well, so by the time I get home from school every day I am absolutely exhausted.” And while Lecce maintains that classroom size increases represent a modest and responsible increase over several years, and, that the government is in the midst of rehiring thousands of E.A.’s in real time, Lachica says “Currently, there are no class size caps in grades 4-8, with some classrooms reaching up to 40 students with one teacher. We need to see the support of adults in class, because we have many special needs students who are now integrated into regular classrooms – on a much larger scale than previously. It is about staffing and the resources for programming. Violence is on the rise; that is because the size of our classrooms and not having the support of additional resources. We need working conditions that are positive for our students. Parents of students with autism, for whom the government has previously reneged on their promises to, are rallying.” Compensation that reflects the cost of living inflation – which currently means a two per cent annual wage increase versus the proposed government wage increase of one per cent – is also a part of the labour negotiations. “Ontario high school teachers are the second highest paid in Canada; and, after ten years of service, they are the highest paid,” Lecce states. “We are out because of the stated critical issues,” Lachica counters.

Our philosophy is that education is not a mere expense; it is an investment in Ontario students’ futures as well as Ontario’s future economy

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— Harvey Bischof, president, Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation

We do believe that the public, Ontario en masse, is standing with us, and we appreciate that support.” Safe environments for students to learn in – ones that are positive, nurturing and free from violence – are considered by the teachers and their unions as a key, intuitive mandate. An elementary school teacher since 2004 in the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association, OECTA, shares an incident that happened at her school just recently. “In our school of 300, we have a child who is special needs and is challenged. She went into the bathroom, had a bowel movement, picked it up and then smacked the unsuspecting Educational Assistant, (E.A.) in the face with it. The child is also a flight risk. She hurts other kids, but we don’t have enough supervision to keep her under scrutiny the whole time. There are a couple of time blocks where the support workers need a break and she is integrated into

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“Teachers are on the lines, with a loss of salary, because they care about the critical issues. This action is about the teaching and learning in our schools, about the future of public education. This is an equity issue. All students receive a world-class public education because of what we’ve built for generations, through our hard-earned tax dollars. This is a critical moment in Ontario, not just for education but also for health care as well.” On the volatile issue of mandatory e-learning, Lecce believes that this type of learning will help students’ perspective, vis-a-vis providing a learning process that delivers a labour market lens that is relevant to the job market. But Bischof believes that there is another side to the e-learning coin that critically impacts students. “About five per cent of Ontario students currently do e-learning on a voluntary basis,” Bischof says. “They are self-selected and don’t succeed at the same rates as students who are in face-to-face classrooms. We know that when we make students take mandatory e-classes, they are not going to succeed at the same rates as they do when they get professional attention from education workers and teachers in regular classes. We also know that when students fall behind in their credit accumulation, their odds of acquiring their graduation diploma drop off precipitously. These are the students who are no longer prepared to move into postsecondary education or to begin a skilled trade apprenticeship. Avenues to future opportunities are simply cut off for them.” The OECTA teacher concurs. “The government is trying to cut the candle at both ends. They are trying to cut the allday kindergarten; and, they are trying to cut programming for the older kids by making them take two e-learning classes. We are asking adolescents to take on far too much responsibility for their education; they still need structure and guidance.” So where do the public, the parents and the students themselves factor into this whole equation?

Well, in a recent poll conducted by DART & Maru/Blue Voice Canada Poll, (week of Feb. 3), overwhelming support was tabled for both sides – which includes all four unions: the OSSTF, OECTA, the EFTO and The Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens (AEFO) – to get back to the negotiation table and find solutions to the issues. Other interesting facts found that while 78 per cent of respondents want the strikes to end, and think that the impasse should be resolved by appointing an ‘independent third-party,’ 58 per cent

their sustained philosophical alignment with these professionals when it comes to current labour negotiations; almost two-thirds believe the government is on the wrong track when it comes to public education, while a similar proportion report they are most sympathetic to teachers and education workers when it comes to the negotiations; an increasing proportion of Ontarians prioritize investing in education over fighting the deficit and support continued efforts by teachers to negotiate for those items which are important to them” (source: www.bargainingforeducation.ca). For the sake of the students, who are our leaders of the future, it is both critical and topical that both sides come together to resolve key differences, and commit to playing nice in the sandbox. In fact, it is critical for Ontario, which now touts itself as being ‘open for business,’ to have a pool of well-educated high school, college and university graduates who can rise to the challenge of staffing, directing and leading our well-heeled province into a future of economic stability, growth and success. “I want every child to see themselves reflected in their school, where their potential is recognized and nurtured. We are expecting greater levels of accountability from the investments we are putting into the system because we want to deliver the best outcomes for students,” Lecce says. “Ontario competes on the basis of its high-quality education; of having an extremely high rate of postsecondary educated students, which makes us competitive in the global economy. And to weaken that competitive edge is pure folly,” Bischof counters. On Friday, February 21, all four teachers’ unions conducted a one-day massive strike with a reported 30,000 to 35,000 teachers, school staff, parents and students walking the one-kilometre-plus route around the Queen’s Park circle in Toronto. Since then, two of the four unions announced they would be back at the bargaining table on Monday, Feb. 24. More information on the issues can be found at the OECTA information site, www.knowmore.ca

This action is about the teaching and learning in our schools, about the future of public education. This is an equity issue

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— Joy Lachica, president, Elementary Teachers of Toronto Local

urge the government to use back-towork legislation if a full-blown strike breaks out. However, the study reports that the public believes the teachers’ talking points more than the ones from the government; and relative to other questions asked in December (2019) as well as last week, the teachers had gained significant ground. Importantly, when asked who is acting in the best interests of parents and students, the teacher unions are up eight per cent from a December 2019 polling, to 45 per cent support, with government support at 18 per cent, and 39 per cent favouring neither side (source: DART & Maru/ Blue Voice Canada Poll). Another independent online polling study from Environics Research states that “After the Christmas break, 2019-2020, and in spite of a return to job action activities by teachers and education workers, Ontarians reprise

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A DV E R TO R I A L

FROM KOREA WITH LOVE

After a year in development, rising facialist Gianna Ugolini introduces the Korean Glass Facial to her skin-care menu

Clients get the best facials at G.C. & Co., including all the advantages of an oxygeninfusion dome and cryotherapy, which Gianna uses to get amazing, glowing results

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ith 25 years of facial experience, Gianna is renowned for putting her own spin on the classic European facial. She combines her signature contour massage with modern-day equipment and techniques, which makes for an experience like no other. The newest addition to her facial menu is the Korean Glass Facial, featuring oxygen, cryotherapy and so much more, which has been over a year in the making. After several trips to California to master the Korean facial massage technique and personally choosing and testing several facial masks and tools, it has all come together perfectly! “New and existing clients are absolutely loving it and look forward to their next session. This makes me so happy,” she says. This 90-minute treatment includes all of Gianna’s favourite game-changers: lymphatic drainage, a freeze-dried collagen mask and her oxygen system (to name a few!). The hyperbaric oxygen machine produces approximately 98 per cent pure oxygen, which is then breezed into a respiratory dome as it is comfortably placed over the face. This

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allows the client to inhale the benefits while increasing product absorption. To finish off this relaxing treatment, the oxygen spray gun is used to further infuse the skin with super-hydrating serums.

GIANNA COMBINES THE KOREAN FACIAL MASSAGE WITH HER OWN SIGNATURE CONTOUR MASSAGE, MAKING IT A TECHNIQUE LIKE NO OTHER “Every day, we get bombarded with positive ions, which have a negative effect on our body when exposed to in excess, making us feel tired and worn out,” says Gianna. “Negative ions help relieve stress, and boost energy to revitalize your skin, improve fine lines and wrinkles and other signs of aging.” Afterwards you’re left with healthy, glowing skin. Her favourite part of every facial? The contour massage. “I’m constantly

tweaking it to achieve instant visible results,” she says, as facial massage can drastically improve the appearance of skin, improving circulation, ironing out expression lines and toning muscles. Gianna combines the Korean facial massage with her own signature contour massage, making it a technique like no other. Facials are her passion, and she travels abroad a few times a year to constantly learn new techniques. “I’ll never stop learning. I want to be a good role model for my nine-year-old daughter by showing her that when a woman is passionate about her career, the sky’s the limit.” Gianna’s biggest piece of advice? Monthly facials and a really good homecare routine to be carried out morning and night. “One skin cycle consists of 28 days — that is how long it takes for skin cells to regenerate. A facial once a month sloughs away dullness, leaving you with a healthy glow,” she adds. “I also offer a very popular 16-week program: clients visit me every week for 16 weeks, where I treat them with everything I have to offer. And they’re left with an incredible transformation.” Check out the before/ after photos for yourself on Gianna’s Instagram page (@gianna_gcandco).

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