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FINDING HAPPINESS WITH NEIL PASRICHA

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PAVING THE WAY TO A MORE ACCESSIBLE CITY

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VOLUME 15 ISSUE 1 | FEB/MAR 2017

CONTENTS 14

ON THE COVER

20

AT HOME WITH BOBBY MOTTA: The renowned Toronto mentalist will blow your mind

34

36 56

14 AN ESPRESSO WITH THE

CONSUL-GENERAL: Giuseppe Pastorelli on the ongoing love affair between Italy and Canada

26 ZERO TO HAPPY:

Toronto author Neil Pasricha cracks the code for a happier life

64

29 WINTER BLOSSOM: From frilly frocks to ravishing rompers, we share five ways to wear your garden

36 A PICKUP FOR

EVERYONE: The classic truck is taking on a new persona — and we’re hitching on for the ride

47 PAVING NAVY STREET:

26 8

City Life Magazine

A Vaughan family turns tragedy into hope for people touched by spinal-cord injuries

56 I WENT ON A DATE

WITH A PROFESSIONAL MATCHMAKER: Meet Shannon Tebb, Toronto’s headhunter for the heart

60 UBER CRUISERS:

The modern-day career alternative that redefines the nine-to-five

64 #CITYFINDS:

We rounded up the latest and greatest to hit Vaughan’s streets

More stories inside … www.mycitylife.ca


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9


PUBLISHER’S NOTE

FIND THE MAGIC AND COUNT YOUR ROSES

T

here is something magical about that moment when you realize what you want to do when you grow up. It is a blessing if this revelation comes early on in life. But just because life puts Michelle Zerillo-Sosa, obstacles or delays on our path to success Publisher/Editor-in-Chief and happiness, it does not mean one should settle. For evidence, read this issue and you will see that there are some exceptional examples of individuals who have made it their purpose to find happiness at various stages of their life, via perseverance, a renewed perspective or just old-fashioned trial and error. For our cover man Bobby Motta, the mentalist who is friends with the likes of David Blaine and has received praise from celebrities like Russell Crowe, that “Eureka” moment came when he was only four years old. He was mesmerized by the way his uncle would pretend to lose a tooth and replace it with a Chiclet. (When I met Motta during the photo shoot for our story, which you’ll find on page 20, I probably looked like that four-year-old as he guessed what number I was thinking, not once but three times. Needless to say, I left right after that trick, out of fear that this man might actually be for real and read something else on my mind!) Motta’s belief that life is all about perspective, and that anyone can change theirs at will, is worth reflecting on. Then there’s Neil Pasricha (story on page 26), who believes that happiness starts with little more than a notebook. Carry one around with you, he suggests in his interview, and write down anything you come upon that strikes you as awesome. As you do this, you will develop a sense of gratitude towards even the smallest things. Pasricha’s world-famous blog, 1000 Awesome Things, contains just that — 1,000 examples of everyday awesomeness, proving that too often we wait for big things, when even everyday events or observations can be enough to trigger joyfulness. In his new book, The Happiness Equation, Pasricha describes a game I particularly love, one that he plays at the end of each day with his wife. It’s called “Rose, Rose, Thorn, Bud,” in which each of them identifies a gratitude (that’s a rose), something that did not go well (a thorn), and something they’re looking forward to (a bud). Pasricha’s studies have shown that five gratitudes a week will increase your overall happiness, and this game will give you double. It’s one of the nine secrets he shares in the book, from minor habits you can easily change, to simple ways to shift perspective. Learning his simple tricks for amplifying happiness was definitely a rose for me. Until the next issue, we hope you too can find both the magic and the roses in your life!

Michelle Zerillo-Sosa Publisher/Editor-in-Chief

10

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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 WEB PROJECT MANAGER Steve Bruno SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER Christina Ban JUNIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER Axl Valdez WEB DESIGNER Yena Yoo WEB DEVELOPER Jordan Carter E D ITO R IAL D E PARTM E NT FASHION & HOME DÉCOR EDITOR Michelle Zerillo-Sosa BEAUTY & TRAVEL EDITOR Angela Palmieri-Zerillo COPYEDITOR AND PROOFREADER Francetoast Editing WRITERS Rebecca Alberico, Amanda Storey CONTRIBUTING WRITER Amandalina Letterio CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Robin Gartner, Jesse Milns, Carlos A. Pinto, Bela Raba SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER Sarah Kanbar VI D E O D E PARTM E NT VIDEOGRAPHER 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 ACCOUNT MANAGER Christina Bono OFFICE ADMINISTRATOR Alessandra Micieli FRONT COVER Bobby Motta / Photo By Robin Gartner City Life Magazine • Volume 15 • Issue 1 • Feb/Mar 2017 City Life Magazine is published bimonthly 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 $24.00. We accept Visa, MC & AMEX. Send cheque or money order to Dolce Media Group, 111 Zenway Blvd. #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 342,342 readers per issue through household distribution, newsstand sales 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: Apr/May 2017 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 20 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. ©2016 Dolce Media Group • www.dolcemedia.ca • Printed in Canada @citylifetoronto

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CULTURE

AN ESPRESSO WITH THE

CONSUL-GENERAL Interview By Amanda Storey

City Life: Tell me the story of how you made your way to this role, as Toronto’s Italian Consul-General.

Giuseppe Pastorelli: I was born and raised in Rome. I spent my whole life living not only in the same city, but in the same house. I went to the University of Rome to get my law degree, but studying law was never my real passion. I was looking at possible alternatives, and one of them was joining the Foreign Service. So I joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the age of 24 and was posted abroad for the first time when I was 26. And from that very moment, actually, my life has changed a lot [laughs]. CL: What drew you to that opportunity? Was it something about going abroad?

GP: It was a mix of elements. My father was a university professor of political science and worked with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for many years as the head of the history department, so he was always supporting me in this opportunity. My mother was fiercely against it, since every mother doesn’t want her child to ever leave Rome and Italy [laughs]. But I took the public exam, it went well — and I never looked back.

Giuseppe Pastorelli is a busy man. As the Consul-General of Italy in Toronto, he’s the man responsible for integrating the Italian culture into this mosaic of a city and ensuring that the ItalianCanadian love affair never ends. Sitting in his sunlit office at the Italian Consulate of Toronto, he sips a freshly made espresso — his cup emblazoned with l’emblema della Repubblica Italiana — and shares his well-traveled life story and his big, bold plans for Italian-Canadian culture in the Greater Toronto Area. 14

City Life Magazine

Feb/Mar 2017

CL: And ever since you’ve been posted in cities all over the world.

GP: I was posted on my first assignment in Turkey for four years. Then, after that, I was in Hungary. The system works so that after eight consecutive years abroad, you go back to the Ministry for a number of years — for me it was three. While I was back in Rome, I was dealing with Eastern Africa, a completely different kind of experience. So it was an interesting www.mycitylife.ca

PHOTOS BY JESSE MILNS

Giuseppe Pastorelli, Toronto’s Consul-General of Italy, was born in Rome and has lived in Turkey, Hungary, the U.S. and Canada — with his multicultural background, he’s a natural Torontonian


period of time. [Then] I applied for a position in Boston. We had just had our first boy, he was born in Rome — he was three months old when we moved to Boston. Then this position opened up in Toronto, unexpectedly, and here we are. CL: You’ve lived in and worked with so many different cultures. Was it easy to feel at home here in Toronto because of its multiculturalism?

“ CANADA ALLOWS ITALIANS TO

REMAIN ITALIANS, TO BE PROUD CANADIANS BUT TO CONTINUE TO FEEL CLOSE TO ITALY

GP: In Toronto you feel at home because it’s a very multicultural city. I’m so happy that my son has the opportunity to be exposed to such a multicultural city — an opportunity that I didn’t have when growing up in Rome. He has the opportunity to meet with people from different walks of life, coming from different countries. It’s a big plus. CL: Define the relationship between Italy and Canada, and what that means for the Italian-Canadian identity.

GP: We have to be grateful to Canada. It’s a country that gave an opportunity to so many Italians to find their way and also to find economic success. But most importantly, Canada allows Italians to remain Italians, to be proud Canadians, but to nurture their heritage and language and continue to feel close to Italy. That connection is very strong and alive.

CL: You’re known and loved for not just sitting behind a desk, but being out there in the community and integrating the Italian culture. Can you tell me what inspired that passion in you?

GP: There are two ways to do this job. You can sit behind a desk — and that’s also an important part of the work — but you must be very active outside of the office. And our priorities are promoting Italy in terms of language, in terms of culture, in terms of economic and scientific relations with Canada. If you are passionate about what you do, and you are passionate about promoting Italy, in Toronto you will find very fertile ground, not only because of the amount of Italians that are living here, but also because of the passion and the love that many Canadians have for Italy, its culture, fashion, food and lifestyle. www.mycitylife.ca

Pastorelli sits in his office in the historic building that houses the Consulate of Italy in downtown Toronto

CL: You’ve also been praised for creating a more user-friendly experience here at the consulate. How have you made life easier for those coming through these doors?

GP: We have a community of more than 70,000 people holding an Italian passport. Having such big numbers, with limited resources, you have to set up priorities. We definitely want to give the best service possible. We enhanced the telephone service with someone responding from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every working day and we have a dedicated line for emergencies during holidays and the weekends. You can write an e-mail to us and within 24 hours you will get a response. We have been much more active in our communication strategy, so we send information to Italians who live here to tell them about news they may be interested in. We keep our website always updated and we’ve been much more active on social media in order to get the message out. We did upgrades to the waiting room — finally you can watch Rai Italia — and in 2017 we’ll continue and set up an area for kids while their parents wait.

CL: Speaking of kids, you have two of your own?

GP: Yes, six and two. My youngest, my daughter, was actually born in Toronto! CL: How did you and your wife meet? GP: My wife is Hungarian. We met when I was serving in Budapest, so we married in Hungary, then moved together to Italy. We had our first son and then we went to Boston. She helps me a lot in terms of when I plan and execute ideas to promote Italy, and she also takes care of our family — so she has sort of a double job [laughs]. She’s the most important asset I have and the love of my life! CL: Your four-year term in Toronto began in 2013. Where will you be going after Toronto?

GP: Since my eight consecutive years abroad will be up by the summer of 2018, I’ll go back to Italy.

CL: What’s an average day like for you? GP: Well, you know, from Monday to Friday, waking up at 7 a.m., preparing breakfast for the kids, then bringing my son to school. From there I go to the Feb/Mar 2017

City Life Magazine

15


Lets Celebrate The Heart Wants What It Wants… And it wants Chocolate

office for a day of meetings or writing reports or working on new initiatives. Then I go back home and by 7:30 p.m. I have dinner with my family. On those nights when I have to go out for work reasons, I always try to go with my wife as well, so at least we can have some time together. During the weekends I just relax, or during the busier seasons I make it out to the many Italian functions going on in our area, especially in Vaughan. CL: What’s next for the consulate this year?

GP: In 2017 we’re continuing a number of series that we started to showcase Italy. We organize them in close collaboration with the Italian Cultural Institute and the Italian Trade Commission. We are flying in top chefs from Italy to spend a day with George Brown College students of the Italian Culinary Program and to prepare a charity dinner at Buca, with proceeds going towards scholarships. The next dinner, with three-star Michelin chef Heinz Beck, will be on March 21. Mark your calendar! We also have a series about science and innovation with the University of Toronto called “Italy Inspires Canada,” where we invite top figures from Italy to talk about topics of common interest. For example, we had the first Italian female astronaut in 2015. Then we have another series with Jazz FM where we fly in young Italian jazz pianists — the next one will play on February 7 at Jazz Bistro. We are also prepping up for Italian National Day in June at Casa Loma with over 5,000 participants. We do it together with the major Italian and Italian-Canadian organizations, and this year we will showcase ItalianCanadian artists to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary. We also follow very closely an interesting initiative in the community, spearheaded by Corrado Paina and Justice Frank Iacobucci, to talk about the future of the ItalianCanadian identity.

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CL: Wow, busy year! GP: We try! Otherwise we get bored, no? [Laughs] www.constoronto.esteri.it @ItalyinToronto www.mycitylife.ca


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A DV E R TO R I A L

ownership and direction of the brokerage, concentrating on serving customers in the areas of personal (home, auto and travel) and commercial lines. Along the way, in 1997, the Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario recognized his talent for educating his clients on their insurance options, and asked him to become a group-discussion facilitator for aspiring brokers across Ontario. “When we have a client, we tend to hang onto them for a really long time,” says Campbell, who opened the firm’s new Maple location in 2014.

As president of Walkington Insurance, Mark Campbell connects with clients in whatever way is easiest for them — via a phone call, text or even social media

Adventure Meets Security with Walkington Insurance Insurance broker Mark Campbell blends his passion for traveling with his ability to build comprehensive insurance plans for jet-setters like himself

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s an avid traveller and photographer, Mark Campbell knows a thing or two about jet-setting with the safety net of a customized insurance plan. Not to mention he’s also one of the most renowned insurance brokers in the province. Campbell is the head of Vaughan-based Walkington Insurance, where he fuses his love of traveling and photography with his expertise in the industry to protect his clients from the risks involved in seeing the world. (He keeps their homes and cars safe while they’re on their adventure too.) “If a client is an avid traveler, they want someone who understands and can

www.mycitylife.ca

anticipate and cover them for things that can happen when away — things that can mess up their trip and spoil their plans,” says Campbell. “We do a lot of things here at the office, but something we enjoy talking about with our clients is our traveler’s insurance — traveling, going away and experiencing other cultures, and at the same time being protected.” While photography was Campbell’s first passion, having grown up with a father who was in the film-developing business, in his twenties he discovered he had a knack for insurance. After graduating from the University of Toronto, becoming a Registered Insurance Broker and joining the team at Walkington Insurance, he enthusiastically took over

If a client is an “ avid traveler, they want someone who can cover them for things that can spoil their plans

“We become more [like] friends than anything else. I watch their kids grow and start to drive and all that neat stuff. And that’s one thing I love about this business — I’m always learning and I’m always teaching. As a newer generation comes along to drive, they’re looking to me now for advice, and I love that.” By infusing his work with a genuine care for his clients’ wellbeing — both at home and on their adventures — Campbell has not only built the most in-depth and comprehensive insurance plans, but also long-lasting friendships with the many savvy travelers who walk through his office door.

11399 Keele St., Suite 6, Maple, Ont. 905-833-5283 @shipwrecked66 @walkingtoninsurance www.walkingtoninsurance.ca

Feb/Mar 2017

City Life Magazine

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Toronto native Bobby Motta has become one of the most influential mentalists of our time, known for creating new and innovative “tricks� that he not only performs himself, but passes on to other big names in the biz

20

City Life Magazine

Feb/Mar 2017

www.mycitylife.ca


AND FOR HIS NEXT TRICK… FAMED TORONTO MENTALIST BOBBY MOTTA WELCOMES CITY LIFE INTO HIS HOME. FROM SKYDIVING IN PANAMA TO BEING NAMED ONE OF THE TOP MAGICIANS IN THE WORLD, MOTTA REVEALS ALL IN THE COMFORT OF HIS OWN LIVING ROOM WRITTEN BY AMANDA STOREY / PHOTOGRAPHY BY ROBIN GARTNER

he magician places a large dice in my hand, then takes my wrists and gives them a shake. “Now open your hand. What number is it?” he asks. It’s six. “You have no idea what’s going on, do you?” I absolutely do not. “Don’t worry about it. I do weird things sometimes,” he says. Then he dangles my watch in front of my face, which I hadn’t even realized was missing from my wrist. “And here’s your watch back, by the way.” Legendary mentalist Bobby Motta and I are standing in the baby’s room-slash-study of the cosy Toronto townhouse he shares with his wife, Alana, their three kids and their two dogs. On one side of the room is a wall of posters and artifacts from the last 15 years he’s been a professional mentalist, including a framed set of antique keys from one of Houdini’s tricks. On the other side of the room is a baby crib. This room alone exemplifies Motta’s lifestyle. As one of the world’s top mentalists — having earned the praises of celebrities like Russell Crowe and friendships with fellow world-class magicians like David Blaine — his most impressive trick yet has been balancing the hectic schedule of his multifaceted magic-making empire with his personal life. Actually, “hectic” is an understatement. Every Friday and Saturday, Motta performs at Dave & Buster’s in Vaughan, a show that’s become a hot ticket for tourists and locals alike, and during the week his days are slammed with gigs for corporate clients like Google and Nike. And then, of course, there are his private summons from A-listers, who fly him down to, say, L.A. for a night so he can blow their besties’ minds in their own abode. At 45 years old, Motta is five feet, six inches of pure muscle, having appeared in a few fitness competitions over the years, and he’s covered in tattoos that range from an www.mycitylife.ca

at home with

bobby motta Feb/Mar 2017

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optical illusion (the profile of a face that, at a different angle, looks like the word “liar”) to a tribal-print sleeve that covers his left arm. He may not fit the stereotypical description of a magician, but then again, as he reminds me, the industry has evolved since its Houdini days. Modern magicians have built on what’s already been done to create an even more baffling show for the 21st century. “We have our four founders, we have the people that laid it out for us. Like, the cups and balls dates back to thousands of years ago, and card tricks date back hundreds of years,” says Motta, whose show at Dave & Buster’s is the longest-running mentalist show in Canadian history. “And you have the new guys now — a whole new generation of creators that come out and say, ‘okay, what they’ve done, we can take those exact same principles and make them better.’” or Motta, the magic all began when he was four years old. He was at a family function when his uncle showed him a trick that involved his false tooth and a Chiclet — and the inventiveness of it stuck with Motta for years to come. As the years went by, Motta continued to fuel his excitement for magic, which turned into a passion for mentalism, and quickly developed an immense talent. He was completely self-taught, devouring magical literature and practicing until perfection. But it wasn’t until 15 years ago that he quit his day job as the owner of a car dealership to pursue his dream full-time. It was a good decision. Today, Motta is one of the most influential people in the biz. Not only is he a performer himself, but he’s also known worldwide as a maker of magic tricks, coming up with original ideas and advising big names like Blaine and Criss Angel. He even founded Motta Magic, a program that passes on his tips and tricks to others in the industry. “It’s a gift, to be able to create magic,” says Motta, who grew up in Thornhill, Ont., and has performed on almost every continent. “There aren’t a lot of creators whose magic is being used by big names, so for me it’s an accomplishment. It really feels good.” otta’s realm is perhaps the most challenging one in showbusiness, yielding a miniscule number of truly successful mentalists — especially outside of Las Vegas, magic’s ground zero. But Motta has made it, and done so by mixing a lifelong excitement for his craft with authenticity and a lot of heart (and a lot of literal hands-on learning; a few years ago he accidentally slammed his hand into a needle while performing the infamous stick-cup trick). He’s in it for the fun, and his fans love him for it. “He stuns them. He mesmerizes them. He’s outrageous,” says Mary Patrick, special events sales manager at Dave & Buster’s in Vaughan. Patrick discovered Motta eight years ago when he was the opening act for another performance — and she was so impressed that she asked him to come on as her headliner. “His show is like great comedy with that ‘wow’ factor, because you are laughing through it, too. That’s what’s great about him — he is a showman, and he has that sense of presence.” “He’s just a genuinely good guy, and his personality really shines through onstage,” says childhood friend Les Farkas,

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After 15 years of practising mentalism full-time, Motta has earned an international fan base. He plans to launch a television show and a world tour in 2017

who owns a Wasaga Beach- and Panama-based skydiving company. Last year Farkas introduced Motta to what would become the mentalist’s second love: falling from the sky. In fact, the day before our interview, the Motta family had just returned from a weeklong visit with Farkas in his tropical paradise, and the adventure sparked an idea in Motta’s mind: why not mesh mentalism with skydiving? hile that record-breaking trick is in the works, Motta is also gearing up for his biggest year yet. On March 17, he’s launching his new show, “Cryptic,” at Dave & Buster’s (he’s been performing “Gray Matter” for the past two years). He’s also in talks with a network about a television show, and there’s a North American tour on the horizon. He plans at some point to knock out a few shows in London, England, where he can visit his buddy Andy Nyman, who crafts material for the likes of Derren Brown — one of Motta’s personal favourite mentalists. The work can be overwhelming, especially when dealing with an intense, almost obsessive-compulsive desire to perfect his craft. This is Motta’s biggest challenge — he claims he will never feel truly at peace with his work, since he will

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Motta lives in a cosy townhouse in Toronto, which he shares with his wife, Alana, their three kids and their two dogs, Tiko and Milo

“Mentalism is about exploring. It’s about connecting. It’s not about the mentalist, it’s about the people that are there together” — Bobby Motta

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Via Monte Milano BOUTIQUE

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continued from page 22

always see room for improvement. But at least there’s a silver lining to his perfectionism: some of Motta’s best work has emerged from his desire to achieve a mentalist’s nirvana with every trick. “I’ve had magicians from all over the world come to see my show just for this one piece that they heard about — it’s called ‘Advil,’ a piece I haven’t released yet — and that came to life through a hardcore obsessive-compulsive session,” says Motta. “I was just tuned in, and it was like, a week-long process that brought something into my world that was just amazing.” “He’s very focused,” says Farkas. “When he gets onto something, he will just drive at it, drive at it, until he not just gets good at it, but gets really good at it.” ne thing he’s almost perfected is his parenting skills. His four kids adore him, and he even takes his two boys to most of his shows so they can help set up, snag front-row seats and, of course, keep an ear out for people’s feedback. But, he explains with a laugh, fatherhood has even more ups and downs than his profession. “Bobby sometimes butts heads with our eight-year-old son because they are so alike,” says his wife, Alana, who not only holds down the home fort but her husband’s business matters, too. “What can I say? Like father like son!” In the midst of it all, Motta stays grounded by training his dog in French, meditating barefoot in the grass, whipping around Toronto in his Porsche 911, savouring a few chocolate hedgehogs from Purdy’s and partaking in what he calls “jam sessions” with fellow mentalists, during which they bounce bizarre and groundbreaking ideas off one other. “Gather six, seven mentalists in a room and things get really weird,” says Motta with a laugh. But, of course, his ultimate outlet is his practice. Just as mentalism offers viewers an escape, an opportunity to indulge in the mysteries of their own minds, it’s also Motta’s best form of release. “Human beings live in a world with so much stress, so much pressure,” says Motta. “And I think magic and mentalism is an outlet that helps you escape reality Mentalism is about exploring. It’s about connecting. It’s not about the mentalist, it’s about the people that are there together.” f there’s anything Motta has learned from mentalism, it’s that life is all about perspective. He gives me a concrete example: growing up, he was always terrified of the number 13 — even while working out, he’d avoid completing 13 reps, stopping at 12 or quickly pushing himself to complete 14. But a decade ago, he decided to switch his perspective, making 13 his lucky number. He even got the number tattooed on his neck. And how has his new relationship with XIII been working out for him? “It’s been amazing!” he says. “It goes to show you that it’s all in your head. In line with what I do, it’s important to remember that it’s all perspective. Look at the way things are around you and design your own life pattern.”

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Feb/Mar 2017

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Wellness

ZERO HAPPY

FROM TO

Entrepreneur and bestselling author Neil Pasricha, an executive who quit his job to chase happiness and ended up with so much more, is sharing his secrets to a happier life

Writing is totally torture.” This is definitely not something one would expect to hear from the author of international bestsellers The Happiness Equation and The Book of Awesome series. But, according to Neil Pasricha, “it’s that torture, that perfect creation of a good sentence and the right paragraph, that gives you an incredible high.” Surely a notion most writers wouldn’t hesitate to agree with. Sitting in the PEI room at the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto, Pasricha’s personality is as vibrant and charming as the decor in the century-old landmark. The former Walmart Canada executive turned author, speaker and optimist is here with the Canadian Club preparing for his talk “Happier People, Happier Organizations.” His introduction: friendly; his presence: confident. Pasricha lights up the room. Pasricha first discovered the healing power of writing in 2008, when he turned to publishing a personal blog to help him cope with two significant losses, the collapse of his marriage and the loss of his best friend to mental health issues. The blog is titled 1000 Awesome Things, and chances are you’ve come across it once or twice before. Flipping to the cold side of the pillow, finding $5 in your jacket pocket, when the cashier opens a new checkout line at the grocery store — blogging one awesome thing, five

Bestselling author Neil Pasricha was born and raised in Oshawa, Ontario

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PHOTO BY ROBIN GARTNER

Written By Rebecca Alberico


days a week for four years straight is how Pasricha hit his magical 1,000 entries. Little did Pasricha know, his seemingly insignificant chronicling of simple pleasures would become a huge undertaking, yielding an unexpected reward. “[When I first started] I came up with a list of everything I could think of, and I only had 12,” says Pasricha. “It was from writing those 12 that friends started sending me suggestions and I developed the ability to start seeing them throughout the day.” The blog became a therapeutic ritual for Pasricha. He started to bring a notebook around with him to jot down awesome things he encountered throughout the day. Eventually, Pasricha released the first book in The Book of Awesome series. Sales skyrocketed, and the lighthearted feel-good title turned up everywhere, topping bestseller lists and garnering 50 million hits online. Pasricha went on to receive numerous accolades, began travelling the globe, gave talks to royal families and was even invited to do a TED Talk. Unfortunately, Pasricha quickly learned that success didn’t equal happiness, at least not for him. His new life of travel and engagements wore him down, and the young entrepreneur began to distance himself from forming personal relationships and doing things he enjoyed. So, he took a step back and recommitted himself to the pursuit of happiness. Along the way, his life turned around. Pasricha fell in love with Leslie, a school teacher from Toronto, and the two married and welcomed their first son in 2014. His most recent book, The Happiness Equation: Want Nothing + Do Anything = Have Everything, was Pasricha’s biggest challenge yet and a complete change of course. The guide to a happier life originated as a letter to his first child, a true work of heart. In the months leading up to the birth of his son, Pasricha wrote to his baby every single day. He had no intention of publishing the 300page letter, but eventually Pasricha felt compelled to share his message with anyone concerned about their own happiness. www.mycitylife.ca

The Happiness Equation reveals nine secrets to living a happier life

“ ADVICE ONLY

CONFIRMS WHAT YOU ALREADY KNOW. IT IS AN ALIBI, IT ISN’T TRUTH

“Often times we look at self-help or positive-psychology literature and say, ‘Hey, happy guy, show me how to be like you,’” explains Pasricha. “But I’m the exact opposite. I don’t have it, so I’m searching for it and I’m developing practices that work and then sharing them.” When Pasricha says he “doesn’t have it,” he means that he isn’t the “Pied Piper of Happiness,” as he had previously been referred to during the Book of Awesome tour. Pasricha spent hours on end researching, reading countless positive psychology studies and compiling eye-opening statistics. The book is practically the holy grail to a happier life and a positive mindset. There are nine secrets Pasricha shares with readers, his recommendations ranging from minor habitual changes to larger shifts in perspective. Pasricha’s most extensive task was filtering and distilling all the information into a manageable guide. “People buy a lot more books than they read — I know I do,” says Pasricha. “I really wanted this

to be a book that people read.” From birth, society conditions people to think of great work and success as the source of happiness. Instead, Pasricha encourages readers to reverse that model: Be happy first, you’ll do great work and success will follow. According to The Happiness Equation, research suggests that 40 per cent of our happiness is controlled by intentional activities, things we can do in just 20 minutes or less to aid the cultivation of our own happiness. This is all part of secret number one, in which Pasricha divulges the things you must do before you can be happy. Back when he started journaling in 2008, Pasricha didn’t know that he had actually been validating the theory of several positive-psychology studies that show journaling for 20 minutes a day can actually improve the quality of one’s relationships and reduce pain. Perhaps that’s why The Journal of Awesome outsold many of the books in Pasricha’s series. He calls this practice the 20-minute replay, and even encourages couples to do this together at the end of each day. What about adding three brisk 20-minute walks to your week? Penn State research shows people who did this over a period of time had a higher happiness rating than people on prescribed anti-depressants. (Other 20-minute rituals: random acts of kindness, a complete unplug, two-minute meditations and five gratitudes) What’s most inspiring about Pasricha’s approach to his work is that he leads by example. Through his talks, the 37-year-old shares personal examples of how he manages to put his secrets into action. Every night before bed, for instance, Pasricha and his wife play a game called “Rose, Rose, Thorn, Bud.” “A rose is a gratitude or highlight from the day, thorn is something that didn’t go well and a bud is something you’re looking forward to,” says Pasricha. He shares that it’s a simple back and forth that gets you four gratitudes before you turn out the lights. “We know from the research that you only need to write down five a week to bump up your happiness — this is a fun and simple Feb/Mar 2017

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DELICIOUS FOOD, PICTURESQUE SCENERY VILLAGGIO RISTORANTE IN THE HEART OF KLEINBURG For over 10 years, Villaggio Ristorante’s award-winning Mediterranean-Italian dishes have exceeded guests’ expectations. Featuring only the freshest ingredients, and coupled with a contemporary fine-dining atmosphere, Villaggio has quickly become one of the top restaurants of Vaughan’s competitive dining scene. Come for the food, stay for the memories. Villaggio Ristorante.

way.” Count your roses nightly and you’ll have double. It may seem difficult to find time during a busy week to accomplish any of these simple tasks, but Pasricha proves that it’s not impossible. For evidence, take secret number six, which provides a foolproof formula for effective time management and the key to never being too busy again. Two-hundred ninety-five is the average number of decisions a person makes each and every day. According to his research, Pasricha says, by automating that by automating the lowtime-low-importance tasks, regulating the high-time-lowimportance tasks, and effectuating low-time-high-importance tasks, there is decision-making energy left to debate “the big ones.” This is one tool that allows people to effectively create space for life’s most important decisions, like where to live or who to be with. The final secret of the nine, and the most important, according to Pasricha: don’t take advice. Yes, he wrote an entire book of advice only to tell you not to take it. This is because there is no such thing as objective advice, and all advice conflicts. He questions: Is the pen mightier than the sword, or do actions speak louder than words? “Advice only confirms what you already know. It is an alibi, it isn’t truth,” says Pasricha, who recently launched The Institute for Global Happiness to help organizations foster long-term happiness among their employees. “When you don’t know what to do and don’t know where to go, remember, the answers are only inside you.” www.globalhappiness.org @neil.pasricha

905-893-4888 110 Nashville Rd. Unit 11, Kleinburg, Ont. www.villaggio-ristorante.ca

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WINTER BLOSSOM

It’s that time of year when the whispers of late-winter mingle with the soft breath of spring. As the snow melts away to make room for a rush of flowers, our wardrobes do the same. From bold blossoms to delicate posies, find your floral inspiration here

TEXT BY AMANDA STOREY

The ground is flowering, and so are your spirits. Make it known by donning a hushed shade of rose with a subtle display of blooms Dress, Céline

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Exude both strength and grace in a gown that comes alive with watercolour flowers and a silhouette that’s reminiscent of a more charming age Dress, Lanvin

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Abstract bouquets contrast playfully with a simple gingham pattern — a perfect match for a day in the garden Dress, Miu Miu

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Photographer: Bela Raba / www.belaraba.com Stylist: Stephan Kallaus / www.stephankallaus.com Model: Vivian, Elite Amsterdam / www.elitemodel.nl Hair and Makeup: Michael Salmen / www.michaelsalmen.com Photographer’s Assistants: Lisa Studacher, Friedrick Graefe

Royal purple, multicoloured flora and unexpected pops of ethereal symbols come together in dark whimsy

Suit, Roberto Cavalli

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Step into the sunnier side of 2017 with a fearless ensemble that mixes eye-catching patterns Complete Look, Dior

www.mycitylife.ca

Feb/Mar 2017

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A DV E R TO R I A L

Owners and brothers Pat and Maurizio Di Rauso continue to revolutionize the way music is taught and learned

For the Love of Music o develop a passion for music at a young age is a gift, and to cultivate it is a privilege. For over three decades, Arcadia Academy of Music, Vaughan’s premier music school, has had the pleasure of nurturing the talents of the tens of thousands of students who have walked through their doors - a task they don’t take lightly. The well-respected family-owned and -operated franchise first opened its doors in 1984, with Carmine Di Rauso at the helm. He built a foundation for the brand that stood for delivering quality programs with vision. After Di Rauso’s sons Pat and Maurizio took over, the mission remained unchanged: Arcadia provides a personalized approach to music education through innovative programming with honesty, integrity and transparency. The brothers are certain it’s this forward-thinking approach to music education that sets Arcadia apart from

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other music schools. “We take the students out of the classroom and put them in our on-site recording studios, performance rooms, master classes and workshops,” says Pat. According to the brothers, it’s about understanding that music is more than the methodology, and Arcadia is proud to offer students the opportunity to participate in events like annual Christmas concerts and competitions to showcase their skills and gain the confidence they need to blossom. With nearly a dozen locations and 227 instructors in Vaughan and across the GTA, Arcadia’s approach to music education spans cities, making it one of the largest music schools in Ontario. But Pat doesn’t like to think of the locations as franchises, rather as one unified family committed to teaching the Arcadia method. “It’s not ‘I,’ it’s ‘we,’” says Pat. “Everything we do, we do together.” Whether they’re teaching piano,

guitar, drums, brass, strings or vocals, all Arcadia instructors are adequately interviewed and screened prior to hiring, and all teachers are given a standard of training to ensure quality is harmonious across the board. Maurizio also stresses that Arcadia values the importance of maintaining quality teacher-student relationships. “We provide our teachers with workshops that equip them with skills to cultivate positive relationships with students, in order to keep them motivated to come back every week.” Arcadia proudly ranks in the top three music institutions in the country that send students to complete Royal Conservatory of Music examinations. The school even provides its own exams annually on-site to monitor the progression of students and teachers alike. Arcadia commends parents for making the commitment to bring their child in week after week. Seeing the

www.mycitylife.ca

PHOTOS BY CARLOS A. PINTO / DOLCE MEDIA GROUP

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Arcadia Academy of Music has been encouraging youth to discover the magic of music for the past 33 years


The Arcadia team delivers innovative, forward-thinking programs that enrich the lives of each student and foster a lifelong love of music

achievements of the students on paper is further affirmation that their child is making great strides with the musical education they are investing time and money into. Some students come to Arcadia with an instrument in-hand, while others are only beginning to discover their love for the art and are seeking guidance. “Everyone wants to play their favourite songs, but in order to get to that level you need to be trained and we want to get them there,” says Maurizio. It’s important for the team at Arcadia to understand the goals of the students, assess their strengths and tailor the education plan to their needs, while maintaining structure. About three years ago, Arcadia’s corporate location in Woodbridge introduced more “out of the box” education and expanded to include a unique 26-week musical theatre program. “It opened up a lot of those areas that allowed the kids to come out of their shells completely,” says Maurizio. The school proudly puts on two major productions a year at venues

www.mycitylife.ca

There are so many “ activities out there right now like dance or karate, but the only thing that will last forever is music

“Music is such an important aspect in everyone’s life. From birth we see the value in exposing children to music,” says Maurizio. “There are so many activities out there right now like dance or karate, but the only thing that will last forever is music.” At the end of the day it’s not about Arcadia’s 18 professional accolades, including “Best Music School” nods, it’s about the passion that owners Pat and Maurizio and the entire team has for instilling a lifelong love of music in each and every student. That’s the Arcadia difference.

— Maurizio Di Rauso

such as York University, City Playhouse Theatre and the Toronto Centre for the Performing Arts. These large-scale productions are completely written and directed in-house. “We write the script around our talent, everyone gets equal opportunity for a valuable part in the production,” says Pat. “And we don’t use tracks, these are live bands playing every single piece.”

205 Marycroft Ave., Unit 6, Woodbridge, Ont. 905-851-8631 www.arcadiaacademyofmusic.com Feb/Mar 2017

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auto

A PICKUP FOR EVERYONE

The pickup truck image has shifted gears – luxury joins power to take hold of a new demographic Written By Amandalina Letterio

Ford F-250 Super Duty Lariat Specs: 385 HP | 11.0/16.4 City/ Highway MPG | 6 Seats / 4 Doors

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one are the days when pickup trucks were seen as, “work trucks.” Thanks to considerable aesthetic upgrades and the addition of luxury features, that stereotype has changed. As a result, companies like Ford, Dodge and Nissan have pulled in more pickup lovers. In fact, it isn’t uncommon to see a woman driving around with a bumper sticker on the back of her pickup that announces, “Silly boys, trucks are for girls,” or parents picking up their kids from soccer practice in one. Pickup sales rocketed in 2016, comprising half of the industry’s growth, the truck did a 360 in its demographic — and we love it. Do you remember when the Ford F150 was considered a big  pickup truck?  The vehicle was undeniably beautiful, but who needed all of that power?  Now if you ask a pickup lover, they are just as likely to choose the F250 or F350 over the F150.  Considering how much truck you get, the F250 base 36

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Dodge Ram 1500 Sport Crew Cab 4x4 Specs: 395 HP | 15/21 City/ Highway mpg | 5 Seats / 4 Doors

models start at $37,849 – only about $8,000 more than the base price of a F150 ($29,000). Not to mention, it can tow up to 32,500 pounds, which for the average driver, means basically anything from new furniture to big bags of dirt for building up the garden.    The Ford F350 is undeniably a powerful truck, well-suited to the kind of driver who enjoys that pulsating roar. These trucks come in various models, with diesel or gas powered V8 engines. Appealing to a non-traditional pickup driver, the F250 and F350 each seat up to six people, another reason people are

scrapping the minivan and looking at pickup trucks in a whole new light. Dodge has even found a way to convert the drivers who think pickups are gas-guzzlers. The new Dodge Ram 1500 is being called Canada’s most fuel-efficient pickup ever thanks to its new class-exclusive 3.0L EcoDiesel V6. It doesn’t compromise power for fuel-efficiency because it still has 420 poundfeet of low-end torque. Of course, not all of the Ram models have the V6 gas-saving engine. For heavyduty V8 power and a gas bill to support it, check out the Sport Crew Cab 4x4. www.mycitylife.ca


Nissan Titan Platinum Reserve Specs: 390 HP | 15/21 City/ Highway MPG | 5 Seats / 4 Doors

Ford F-350 Super Duty Lariat Specs: 385 HP | 16.3/20.5 City/ Highway MPG | 6 Seats / SuperCab

Nissan is also diversifying its customer pool. The company recently created a new incentive: they now offer a 100,000-mile, five-year warranty for its full-size pickups. If you aren’t a fan of the vibrating growl most pickup engines make, the Titan Platinum Reserve is a solid choice, known for its quiet drive and car-like handling. Nissan also redesigned the front grill of the Titan to make the vehicle more aerodynamic, allowing it to be more fuel efficient and softer in sound. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that pickup sales were up last year. Leading pickup companies are making a conscious effort to please consumers who love the look of a pickup but also require the practicality of standard car features. This new breed of pickup has capability for not only the working tradesman, but for anyone who has an affinity for them. www.nissan.ca www.dodge.ca www.ford.ca www.mycitylife.ca

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A DV E R TO R I A L

Class Meets Quality at Zilli Home Interiors Natalie Papia can beautify any room using the highquality, style-savvy pieces she carries at her Vaughan decor boutique, Zilli Home

PHOTOS BY CARLOS A. PINTO / DOLCE MEDIA GROUP

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t’s been eight years since independent interior design boutique Zilli Home first opened its doors, which continue to welcome clients from Vaughan and beyond. Founder and president Natalie Papia established Zilli Home as a haven for style-savvy homeowners, industry professionals and decor admirers. Stocked with high-quality, avant-garde designs, the shop has blossomed into one of the city’s favourite style destinations. Catering to nearly every room of the home, the 22,000-squarefoot shop houses more than 60 fully accessorized room settings, wall decor and other accents. These products are categorized into four lifestyle collections including Urban Chic, Modern Classics, Sophisticated Elegance and Timeless Classics. In order to keep the shop stocked with the latest trends and innovative styles, Papia sources products with the best reputations and combs through trade shows throughout the year. She is also passionate about supporting

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We’re here seven “ days a week promoting the same vision of fashion, quality and selection

Canadian-made products. She takes her relationships with her vendors quite seriously, claiming it’s important to promote not only locally made, but also quality-made pieces. By putting an immense amount of thought and care into each of the collections she curates, the business owner and mother of three has created an environment for homeowners and industry professionals that encourage creativity. After all, home decoration is

This March, Vaughan celebrates eight years of Zilli Home Interiors, the city’s premier destination for all things interior design

the one aspect of housekeeping that can summon the inner artist in almost anyone. “Although everyone is fashionable and has good sense of what we want, sometimes it’s difficult to make it a reality in the home,” says Papia, whose favourite room to design is the family room. “Our design consultants are not your typical salesperson, but rather an individual who is certified in home decor and is therefore able to go to the client’s home and help them with their space planning and to help them pull a room together.” After eight years of successfully transforming Vaughan homes into blissfully beautiful habitats, Papia looks forward to many more years of Zilli Home. And now that the shop has blossomed into a full-fledged team of experts who are as passionate as they are visionary, the city can’t wait to see what other residential makeovers it performs. “I have an amazing team, and it’s because of them — the individuals that clients meet every single day coming into the store — that Zilli Home continues to do as well as it does,” says Papia. “We’re here seven days a week promoting the same vision of fashion, quality and selection.”

Zilli Home 672 Chrislea Rd., Woodbridge, Ont. 289-268-0020 www.zillihome.com

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With its booming infrastructure and wealth of opportunities, Vaughan is becoming one of the most attractive places to live for young buyers in the Greater Toronto Area

real estate

HOME, SWEET CONDO: PHOTO BY CARLOS A. PINTO / DOLCE MEDIA GROUP

A MILLENNIAL BUYER’S GUIDE TO FINDING THEIR DREAM CONDO IN VAUGHAN

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ith its shiny condominium developments, buzzing infrastructure and price points that are much prettier than Toronto’s, Vaughan is swiftly becoming the millennials’ new stomping ground for work and play. But despite the massive influx of twentysomething buyers in “the city above,” not many young people actually know where to begin. Worry not, young grasshopper, because City Life developed a plan that will help you navigate the process from A to Z (ze closing of ze deal, that is), so prepare to feel prepared — and get ready to take the smart route to finding your dream home in the sky.

Q&A

WITH VIVIAN RISI

Millennials are in the stage of life where they’re career-focused and want to travel and be close to amenities. Who the heck wants to spend time shoveling snow and cutting grass?! Condos allow them that freedom.” — Lisa Colalillo, Sales Representative, Royal LePage www.lisainthecity.com

Q As a real estate professional, have you noticed an increase in millennials investing in condominium units in the Vaughan area? A Yes, we have. We have noticed a trend with the baby boomers helping out the millennials to get into the housing market. They seem to have the thought of not waiting until they pass on, but to help their children now.

Broker and Owner, Royal LePage — Q What do you think prompted this trend? Your Community Realty www.yourcommunityrealty.com A The heated market. Demand is running

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When buying a condo, it’s important to have your pre-approval ready, income-tax documents wellorganized, have your downpayment prepared and be equipped for closing costs.” — Andrea Hanak Real Estate Agent, Royal LePage www.andreahanak.com

too far ahead of supply, which has resulted in acceleration in house-price growth over a sustained period. House-price levels are over and above what would be warranted by demographic, economic and financial factors. Q Why is a condominium such a great choice for a millennial’s first home? A With the average price of a home being on average $1 million, a condominium is the most affordable investment. www.mycitylife.ca


RESALE OR PRE-CONSTRUCTION? How to buy

How to buy

PRE-CONSTRUCTION

RESALE

Resale is the way to go if you want to know exactly what you’re getting, the quality of the finishes and who’s living next door PRE-QUALIFY! Make sure to sit down with a mortgage broker and find out exactly how much the bank is willing to lend you. Once you know the terms of the mortgage and how much you can afford, it’s time to house hunt.

Pre-construction is great if you want to capitalize on today’s market prices but can’t quite commit to a full-blown mortgage and carrying costs

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2 SAY YES TO THE ADDRESS. Scope out the neighbourhood first and make sure the area amenities and demographics suit your life. If you absolutely need transit, but fall in love with a place that is 20 minutes away to the nearest bus stop, it won’t work.

PRE-QUALIFY! Figuring out what you can afford is still the first step, but you will likely require a larger deposit depending on the builder’s requirement. Preconstruction condos require 20 to 25 per cent down payment paid in installments usually over a 12- to 18-month period. KNOW YOUR TIMELINE. Some condos won’t be ready for another four years! Can you really wait that long to get your own space? Figure out your ideal timeframe and look for developments that match your requirements.

3 FOLLOW THE INFRASTRUCTURE! Buy where there are massive developments like a new highway extension, GO station or subway station (hint, hint). Infrastructure typically leads to a 20 per cent increase in real estate prices for the area surrounding because there is a surge in people moving into the area and that increase in demand causes appreciation in your property. You’ll make money.

UNDERSTAND OCCUPANCY VS. CLOSING. Occupancy is the date you get your keys. As the builder finishes the building floor by floor, purchasers move into their units but everyone has to wait until the building is completed so it can be registered with the city. You will close on your unit within a few weeks after registration. During this occupancy period, you have to pay fees that don’t go towards your mortgage, but towards estimated condo fees, taxes, etc.

4 BE DIFFERENT. The best way to ensure demand for your suite is to buy condos with unique features: a spectacular view, a terrace instead of a balcony, superhigh ceilings or brick-and-beam ceilings. If you don’t have a cookie-cutter place, you won’t have competition.

KNOW YOUR CLOSING COSTS. Inspections, lawyer fees and land transfer tax are the majors. Ontario recently increased the First Time Buyer Rebate to $4,000, so if you buy a condo that’s $368,000 or less you’ll end up paying nothing.

FIND A REALTOR WHO REALLY KNOWS PRECONSTRUCTION. Some brokerages have close ties with developers, gaining them and their clients “first dibs” to the developments’ most sought-after units. And your realtor should guide you through the whole process — you need to be proactively armed with knowledge, as the surprises (a.k.a. money out of your pocket) are more frequent and bigger than buying resale.

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SIGN AND LEARN! It’s exciting to go to the sales office to finally sign your very own contract — but you will also find an incredibly cumbersome document you may not fully understand. Good news: you will have a 10-day cool-off period to walk away from the deal if you are not comfortable for any reason.

RESALE TIPS PROVIDED BY LISA COLALILLO

THE STATS

Statistics Courtesy of TREB Market Watch (November 2016) and CMHC Condominium Owners Report

IN 2016

The average price

rose by

of a condo in Vaughan is

condo sales in the 905 area

20.8% www.mycitylife.ca

PRE-CONSTRUCTION TIPS PROVIDED BY ANDREA HANAK

$388,000

IN 2015 CONDOMINIUM OWNERSHIP

IN THE GTA

grew by 78% Feb/Mar 2017

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Montessori School of Kleinburg

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“Education is the leading of human souls to what is best, and making what is best out of them.” — John Ruskin

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MONTESSORI SCHOOL OF KLEINBURG (MSK) is an accredited Montessori and ministry-licensed school educating children from 15 months to 12 years of age, its in 16TH YEAR OF OPERATION . Overlooking 13 acres of breathtaking greenery and the Humber River, MSK provides students with an academically rich, scenic and safe environment. MSK’s students are recognized for being respectful, responsible and resourceful citizens of the community. We look forward to welcoming your family into ours. Principal Enza and the MSK community, along with Mr. and Mrs. Domenic and Anna Marzano, are sharing the gift of Montessori education and building two more schools in Tanzania, Africa.

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Bianca Trezzi, 27 Pre-Construction “I own a childcare centre in the heart of Vaughan, so when I started looking for a condo it was important to find a place near my work. Plus, Vaughan is so up-and-coming I knew it would be the perfect spot to invest! My first and most important step was choosing a functional floor plan that I could not only see myself living in, but that also would attract a potential buyer in the future. Presale condos are great investments, but also lengthy ones that aren’t for everyone. It’s important to do some research to see if the builder has a history of

REAL TALK

Everything to complement your special day- your way!

Real millennial buyers share their stories — and the lessons that came with them

Jacquie Hardy, 29 Pre-Construction “I’m a traveling personal trainer, and I’ve had my eyes set on this area for a while because it’s pretty central for me. I couldn’t afford to live in a house — it’s just me and my dog. My first step was definitely connecting with real estate agents. Vivian [Risi] helped me get in touch with some of the agents that work

Anthony Di Santo, 25 Pre-Construction “Growing up in Vaughan, I always said my goal was to make my first real estate investment around age 25. I wanted to stay in this area, so I decided to invest in a condo that would be ready in the next two to three years so that by the time I’m 27, 28, I would have something. As a project coordinator for a construction company, I have a lot of background in this topic, so I spent some time doing research on the many projects that are going on in Vaughan. I know what to look for, but it definitely is difficult if you don’t www.mycitylife.ca

elongated building delays — a twoyear project can turn into a three- to four-year project, tying up your money and setting back your plans on a place to live. One challenge I faced was not getting the exact condominium I wanted because it was no longer available. My advice is that if you see a condo that has everything you’re looking for and is within your budget, don’t wait, because you may lose the opportunity. My last piece of advice would be to look into the condo’s maintenance fees and annual property taxes. These can be extremely high in some condos, which could far exceed your budget by the time you make your monthly mortgage payment.”

for her, and that’s where we really started. I was anxious to get somewhere quickly once I knew that I had the option to, but I learned that I have to take my time and take the right steps instead of rushing into something just because I can. This is my first home on my own, and I’m really excited about it. I just moved in a couple weeks ago. And I feel safe living in a condo — it’s easy. I don’t have to maintain any of the property myself. It just works for me.”

know what you’re doing. There are a lot of things that people tend to miss and not understand when they’re actually buying their condo. I think the first thing is, especially young people that haven’t done this before, it’s important to educate yourself and understand exactly what’s out there. You need to be fully prepared, or else you can lose out on a lot. My first step is to do your research, educate yourself and understand what you’re buying. If you can speak to someone outside to give you a bit of direction, that’s always a good idea. And have a good lawyer. Review everything that you’re buying, because there are a lot of hidden things.” Feb/Mar 2017

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A DV E R TO R I A L

Bespoke is the New Black

PHOTO BY CARLOS A. PINTO / DOLCE MEDIA GROUP

NIICO Millwork Group is the gold standard for custom cabinetry in Vaughan and beyond

Joseph Primucci, president of NIICO Millwork Group, is involved in all aspects of his business, including project management, scheduling, production and client relations

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n an Italian household, some of life’s most important lessons are taught (or shouted, rather) at the dinner table. For Joseph Primucci, president of NIICO Millwork Group, these conversations “a tavola” were a crucial component of his successful beginnings as a young entrepreneur. As Primucci made the leap from the corporate world into starting his own cabinetry and millwork business in 2015, he often sought the guidance of the accomplished business owners in his family, recalling the insightful tableside banter of his childhood. “I felt like I was ready to go off on my own, and I wanted to get into the kitchen business — I like that premium product,” says Primucci. Primucci partnered with Sergio Fortino and the duo formed NIICO, an amalgamation of three pre-existing companies. The brand had a fresh start under a new name — an adorable combination of Primucci’s wife and son’s names, Nicole and Domenico — and business began to boom. NIICO quickly became synonymous with luxurious custom kitchen cabinetry, closets and living spaces. Think furniture grade oven-baked finishes, solid oak armoires and classic crown moulding — the gold standard in custom millwork. NIICO’s work has garnered the attention of local designers like Christine Dovey, published stylist, decorator and artist, who recruited Primucci’s team to customize her mudroom and master closet. Dovey, who was shopping for a millworker, stumbled across NIICO’s work on social media and contacted Primucci and his team right away. To no surprise, NIICO hit the nail on the head when it came to making Dovey’s visions a reality — “feminine, French-inspired and lots of storage” were just a few of her wishes. “After rough outlines and measurements, Joseph sent me the drawings for the spaces and I loved it,” says Dovey. “We didn’t change anything.” The bespoke service is what stood out most to the designer, who was impressed by the team’s quick response to any questions or concerns throughout

www.mycitylife.ca

Primucci predicts white kitchens will remain on trend for 2017, along with a lot of brass work with charcoal and dark blue

Our core values “ are transparency

and dependability — we do what we say we’re going to do

the process, and its acute attention to even the most minute details. “It felt extremely custom,” says Dovey. “To see them come in and want to take the time to make it well done and well crafted really stood out to me.” NIICO runs on the principles of quality craftsmanship and exceptional client relations. Using only the finest materials and premium products from across the country and Europe, NIICO offers clients an unparalleled selection — all the while maintaining a relationship of honesty and integrity. “Our core values are transparency and dependability — we do what we say we’re going to do,” says Primucci. “We are always clear about what we can provide. There are no smoke and mirrors here.” He also explains it’s important for him to educate clients about the various products and materials available to them, in order for them to make a decision with all the facts in hand. Each project begins with a

consultation and space evaluation with one of NIICO’s skilled designers, appropriately suited to the taste and style of the client. Whether or not there is an existing vision, the designers are more than happy to work with the clients to produce a plan that reflects their wishes and budget. NIICO then presents the 3D rendering of the space and will only move forward if the client is completely confident with the concept. “Detail is extremely important in this business,” says Primucci. “We like to have our T’s crossed and our I’s dotted.” All production and millwork is then completed in-house using state-ofthe-art equipment and software. Primucci estimates a timeline of approximately eight to 10 weeks, depending on the complexity of the design. “I’ll pop in and out of the site to make sure that things are being delivered on time, especially if it’s a larger project,” says Primucci. “I make sure the installers have all the support that they need to execute as quickly as possible.” NIICO prides itself on having the best in the business when it comes to his team of skilled workers, boasting some of the best cabinetmakers in the city. The company’s nearly two dozen employees bring a young, modern and fresh vibe to the niche industry. This year, as Primucci continues his journey through entrepreneurship — now as the sole proprietor of NIICO — he is spearheading a plethora of exciting new projects with his team and continues to prioritize being actively involved in all aspects of his business. And, as always, while Primucci sees growth for NIICO, his concern is not monetary. “I want to have a company that’s known for its quality, its name brand and its service,” he says.

61 Alex Ave., Vaughan, Ont. 905-264-6952 www.niico.com

Feb/Mar 2017

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Community

The Longo family is a living testament to the existence of that elusive silver lining: after a string of tragedies, something good rose from the ashes in the form of Navy Street Charity

Paving NAVY STREET Every year, 400 Ontarians acquire a spinal-cord injury, and in 1983, Mary Longo was one of them. After more than three decades of coming to terms with her new reality, she’s inspired her daughter Sandra to create Navy Street, a charity that will make life easier for anyone who is wheelchair-bound

PHOTOS BY CARLOS A. PINTO / DOLCE MEDIA GROUP

Written By Amanda Storey

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t took 30 years and a nearly fatal car accident for Sandra Longo to finally realize her calling. Sitting in the homey Woodbridge living room of her 68-year-old mother, Mary, Sandra’s features tell as much of her story as her words. Shifting from a cloudy sadness as she explains the accident that plunged Mary into paraplegia in 1983 to a sparkling, smiling hopefulness www.mycitylife.ca

while she divulges her excitement over her new charity, Navy Street, Sandra certainly doesn’t hide that her life has been something of an emotional rollercoaster. After a slew of family tragedies that almost took the lives of Sandra’s father and brother, the Longos were struck again when Mary was paralyzed while giving birth to her youngest, Liana, due to complications caused by her

epidural. In the decades that followed, Sandra had always been inspired by her mother’s experience with paraplegia and knew she wanted to give back in some way. She just didn’t know which avenue to take — until her own accident occurred in January 2013. It was a wintry morning. Sandra was driving to her job at Rogers Communications on the same country road she always took when her SUV Feb/Mar 2017

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Having lived with paraplegia for more than 30 years, Mary Longo advised Sandra on how to most effectively aid others with spinalcord injuries

hit a patch of black ice, flipped into the ditch and instantly began to fill with icy water. “I was literally drowning in my car,” says Sandra. Panicked and disoriented, she began to pray harder than she ever had before. “I said, ‘God, I promise you, if you let me get out of this alive, I will do something great. I don’t know what it will be, but it will change the world for the better.’” Miraculously, a veteran paramedic happened to be driving by and noticed Sandra’s headlights sinking in the ditch. The paramedic called 911, and just in time, Sandra was saved. “I had a lot of nerve damage as a result of that accident, and I was getting numbing down my legs and hands,” says Sandra. “My [neurologist] told me that according to my scans, there was pressure on my spinal cord — any more pressure and I would most likely have become a quadriplegic.” Shaken once again to its core, the Longo family did what it does best: accept and move on. But this time, Sandra took it one step further, 48

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Feb/Mar 2017

“ COME HELL OR

HIGH WATER, THIS MISSION’S GOING TO BE ACCOMPLISHED AND WE’RE GOING TO DO IT RIGHT HERE IN THE CITY OF VAUGHAN FIRST

— Sandra Longo

taking the culmination of her family’s struggles and turning them into a project with impact: a charity that would help others touched by spinalcord injuries. Th e result is Navy Street, a Woodbridge-based non-profit that donates lightweight, portable ramps to individuals and families who are

struggling to adjust to their new lifestyle and to alleviate some of its downsides. Built on Mary’s story and inspired by the difficulties she and her family faced over the years — difficulties as simple as not being able to enter a friend’s home because the step was too high — Navy Street not only provides a tool that makes life a little bit easier for people in her situation, but also a source of hope, understanding and community. By supplying these easy-to-use ramps, the charity helps paraplegics and quadriplegics access the medicine they need the most: being social. “There aren’t a lot of people that go out with their wheelchairs, and I don’t know if it’s because of the barriers they encounter or if they feel selfconscious,” says Mary. “The ramps are very important because it gives them a sense of freedom.” It took just over a year for Sandra to lift Navy Street off the ground, and while it’s still a young charity, it already has a big future ahead of it. Since each ramp costs about $500, Sandra is coming up with ways to let people www.mycitylife.ca


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A DV E R TO R I A L

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donate to the charity and get something in return. She’s partnered with local philanthropic jewellery brand Love and Above to create the Strength Bracelet, with 50 per cent of its proceeds going to Navy Street. She’s also planning a fundraising gala in Vaughan this year. Ultimately, Sandra hopes to take Navy Street international, providing a ramp to everyone who’s been touched by a spinal-cord injury. “The goal is that no one that gets touched by this traumatic condition goes home without having this helping hand of a portable wheelchair ramp,” says Sandra. “Come hell or high water, this mission’s going to be accomplished and we’re going to do it right here in the City of Vaughan first.” Browsing the Spinal Cord Injury Ontario website, one is hit with a bundle of harsh facts that comprise a paraplegic’s daily life: There are 600 new spinal-cord injuries in Ontario alone every year. On average, it takes a person two to three years after their accident, oftentimes even more, to gain sufficient independence. As Sandra tries to express the difficulties of growing up with a paraplegic parent, and Mary searches for the verbiage to describe the emotional and physical hurdles that are synonymous with becoming a paraplegic, the truth becomes clear: there are no words. And for a long time after being diagnosed with paraplegia or quadriplegia, it feels like one’s entire life — not just one’s mobility – has been robbed. In the face of adversity, Mary found the “silver lining.” After finally mourning the death of her old self, she decided to own what life had handed to her and embrace the new Mary — who, she admits, she likes even more than who she was before. Hers is a valuable example to live by in times of struggle, be it small or large. “Now I’m on the positive side, not the negative side,” says Mary. “I look at the beauty in things.” It’s a trait she shares with her daughter, who has plans to help anyone in her mother’s position to not only accept, but to love, their new path. www.navystreet.org @navy.street www.mycitylife.ca

A DV E R TO R I A L

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omewhere along the journey through parenthood, moms put themselves on the backburner to devote all of their time and energy to their little ones. But in reality, these supermoms should be taking care of their health first and foremost. Moms can attest, they don’t feel like themselves when they are burnt out, fatigued and unhealthy. Shivani knew it was time to stop making excuses for holding on to the extra pounds she gained during pregnancy. After her first session at Integrity Fitness, she felt that the boutique-style studio and personalized approach was just what she needed. “No matter what setbacks I faced during my journey, I found myself surrounded with the most supportive team at Integrity Fitness,” says Shivani. Nancy, meanwhile, felt it was crucial to make the most of the little alone time she had as a mom by committing to a program that actually works. “Working out is a big stress release,” says Nancy. “I am also so proud of getting back to my pre-pregnancy weight after having four children.” Committing to Boot Camp sessions at least two to three times a week, and taking part in the Integrity Fitness Nutrition challenges, has helped Nancy achieve her goals. Integrity Fitness helps supermoms like Nancy and Shivani get back to the best version of themselves, so they can set an example for their biggest fans: their children.

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Offer valid until March 30, 2017 Feb/Mar 2017

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Fitness

LEANER, MEANER LEGS Spring is around the corner and it’s time to kick your workout into high gear. Some of our favourite experts share their tips for achieving your best legs yet Interviews By Rebecca Alberico

TIP The rowing machine is a great choice for intervals because it is a low-impact cardiovascular and strength-training workout in one

TIP

PHOTO BY BRIAN REILLY

PHOTO BY PATRICK HODGSON

Make sure that you’re working all areas of the leg while keeping the heart rate elevated (in order to burn calories)

Kristin Jeffery | Founder & CEO Studio: SCULLHOUSE Rowing Inc. www.scullhouse.com

T

oned legs require two things: getting rid of extra pounds and gaining muscle. One of the best ways to shed extra weight is with HIIT – high-intensity interval training. HIIT involves intervals of high-intensity activity followed by short intervals of rest. At SCULLHOUSE Rowing Inc. HIIT is at the forefront of our classes. Using the rowing machine is a great choice for intervals because it is a lowimpact cardiovascular and strength-training workout in one - you torch calories and build muscle at the same time. Rowing is fantastic for improving muscle definition because you strengthen your inner and outer quads, hamstrings, calves, and glutes. I suggest starting with eight- to 10-minute sets of intervals and varying the stroke rate between 22 and 28. The stroke rate is the number of strokes you take per minute and is displayed on the rowing machine’s electronic monitor. Incorporating intervals on the rowing machine will have you well on your way to lean, sculpted legs.

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Bianca Gross | Master Trainer Studio: Studio Lagree www.studiolagree.com

L

agree Fitness integrates all the basic elements of physical fitness, not just in one session but in each and every move. This is the key to getting great legs. While target-training the lower body does help to sculpt legs, you also have to make sure that you’re working all areas of the leg while keeping the heart rate elevated (in order to burn calories) and working on flexibility. Every single Lagree class includes a “block” focused on the lower-body. Each leg-centric movement targets several areas of the leg in a slow and controlled manner, for a certain duration of time, in order to achieve muscle failure and caloric burn (the “method” of Lagree Fitness). Whether you’re working on the moving platform, using a weighted cable or bungee or simply using your own bodyweight, your legs will be on fire – maybe for days. www.mycitylife.ca


PHOTO BY PEDRO MARQUES | 6IXER MAG

TIP Start early, plan your week and give it time! Recovery is the name of the game when it comes to training to increase or decrease size

V

ariation and volume! These two V’s will give you the big W (win) when it comes to achieving the perfect legs. Diet aside, if you are tired of doing legs and seeing no results it simply means you are tired of doing the same movements. The solution is adding variation into your routine. Not only does this prevent overtraining and fatigue but it will help efficiently attack the different muscle groups that make up the lower body. For example, squats can come in varying foot positions, depths and tempo, all of which are able to isolate different muscles. A wide stance will target mainly the inner thigh, whereas a narrow stance will target mainly the quadriceps. This is not to say we now need to go to the gym and do a new movement every session. It means that we can now spend more time in a session on let’s say the different regions of the “glutes” with five exercises over 30 minutes, as opposed to exhausting only one part of the muscle with one exercise over a shorter amount of time. “How much is enough?” This depends on your body type and your workout history, but the easiest way to break it down is by asking yourself, “How consistent can I be with this routine?” If you are not able to maintain “X amount” of work due to your commitment to training and vigour of your routine, then we need to dial down our program and readjust our goals. Start early, plan your week and give it time! Recovery is the name of the game when it comes to training to increase or decrease size. www.mycitylife.ca

PHOTO BY ARSENIK STUDIOS INC.

Ahj Roberts | Performance Coach / Personal Trainer Studio: 180 Performance & Studio Fitness www.hundredeighty.ca

TIP Toning your legs requires consistency in your workouts

Suzan Galluzzo | Owner, Hourglass Workout Markham and Richmond Hill / Corporate Trainer, Reebok Canada Studio: Hourglass Workout www.suzangalluzzo.com

V

ariety is key. Legs are one of the most difficult to shape because they are one of the largest body parts and will require consistency in your workouts. I try to incorporate different methods when training my legs. First, my go-to routine at least once per week is Plyometrics, a lot of squat jumps, box jumps and lunge jumps. Aim to do five different lower-body exercises for 30 seconds each and repeat five times. This should take around 30 minutes. I also incorporate high reps on lower-body machines twice per week. I suggest four sets of 20 reps on machines like prone lying leg curl, squats, quad extension and leg press to create a long, lean look. Don’t be scared to go heavy and complete fewer repetitions. Finally, I aim to incorporate steady-paced-fat-burning cardio three times per week, to burn fat and tighten skin. The stepmill is your best option for this. It can be done on a treadmill or bicycle as well. I advise staying at a pace where you’re still able to carry on a conversation – keep this for 45 minutes. Feb/Mar 2017

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BETTER TOGETHER

Life Time Athletic Vaughan proves there’s power in numbers when it comes to achieving your best workout

What is the greatest benefit of taking a Group Fitness class? It’s effortless, there’s always going to be a class for you to love. The first time it might be a little intimidating, but if you give it a chance you’ll meet new friends, get an awesome workout and form a lifetime habit. What sets your Group Fitness program apart? At Life Time, we’re always on the cutting edge of fitness trends. Our performers lead entertaining, educational, friendly and inviting classes for all levels, and there’s a genuine connection between members and instructors.

What are the top three classes at Life Time Athletic Vaughan? ཞEDG Cycle leads the pack when it comes to our Indoor Cycling program. It’s a results driven workout that uses innovative technology to pair heart rates and zone training for maximum results. ཞTotal Conditioning Xtreme (TCX) combines full-body resistance training with continuous cardio. ཞLife Power Yoga Vinyasa creates heat within your body using flowing postures with upbeat music in an already-warm room, increasing strength, flexibility and endurance at your own pace.

Check out the Instagram contest on FEBRUARY 16TH AT 1 P.M. EST @citylifemag for your CHANCE TO WIN a 2-Week Club Pass to Unlimited Group Fitness classes courtesy of Life Time Athletic Vaughan. @lifetimevaughan

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A DV E R TO R I A L

Left To Right: Steve Ouslis, Cos Vona, Sandro Simonetta, Daniela Simonetta Chung, Min Chung, Lesley Kerr, Lucy Vona, Vito Pascucci, Diana Simonetta

Northern Karate Schools: Experience Ma�ers After 45 years in the business, Northern Karate Schools knows that the secret to a student’s success lies in its teacher’s experience

PHOTO BY CARLOS A. PINTO / DOLCE MEDIA GROUP

W

ith its 12 locations across the Greater Toronto Area and output of thousands of well-trained, confident students over the years, it’s no wonder Northern Karate has been voted the best martial arts school by the Vaughan Citizen for the past eight years and by Top Choice — Vaughan for the last five. According to Cos Vona, director of the Rutherford Road location, it’s a testament to the fact that experience truly matters. Northern Karate was founded in 1972 by 10th Degree Black Belt Cezar Borkowski, one of the few foreigners to be recognized in the birthplace of karate — the Japanese island of Okinawa. Today, Vona and his team carry on Borkowski’s legacy by maintaining strict standards for their educators. Many of Vona’s teachers have more than 30 years’ experience, and paired with the school’s reputation for providing karate programs in local schools, the

www.mycitylife.ca

Experience “ ma�ers because,

in turn, it means the students’ learning experience at the school will ma�er

staff at Northern Karate have mastered the fostering of organic and meaningful growth in their students. “Experience matters because, in turn, it means the students’ learning experience at the school will matter,” says Vona, who has more than 40 years of training in martial arts. “We bring a lot to the table in terms of educating kids,

not only in the attributes of the martial arts, but how to carry it on in their daily life so they’re now more confident, welladjusted, focused kids.” Offering a comprehensive menu of award-winning programs that range from the traditional karate and Kobudo (weapons training) to the more modern (Camp Black Belt, Realty Check: Real Defense for the Real World, Grappling and more), Northern Karate has become known and loved by students of all ages for its life-changing, self-enhancing curriculum. “It’s the years of rich experience that really set Northern Karate apart from the rest,” says Vona.

NORTHERN

KARATE SCHOOLS

For school locations, visit www.northernkarate.com

Feb/Mar 2017

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#citylifer

We were curious: what could a real, live matchmaker be like on a date? We took Shannon Tebb out for drinks to find out

I Went on a Date with

a Pr fessional Matchmaker Over truffle fries and mimosas, Shannon Tebb — Toronto’s own “headhunter for the heart” — teaches us a thing or two about date etiquette, flirting techniques and what it’s like being a professional ’shipper Written By Amanda Storey

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PHOTOS BY ROBIN GARTNER

T

onight’s the night that Shannon Tebb meets her soul mate: her new foster dog. This I learn as we sidle into a sunlit booth at Luma on King Street, the swanky, sunset-coloured restaurant atop the TIFF building, and one of Tebb’s favourites in Toronto. “She’s coming in from the Dominican Republic tonight! Foxy Roxy!” She scrunches her nose. “She came with the name. I mean, I think I might shorten it to just Roxy.” It’s one of the few matches she’s ever had zero control over. Tebb is Shanny in the City, one of Toronto’s elite, boutique matchmaker. And today, we’re on a date. Okay, it’s not actually a date. But as Valentine’s Day inches closer, blinking its little heart-shaped eyes at us, and the activity on Bumble and Tinder accounts intensifies, I was curious: How does a real-life matchmaker fare these days? And what could she possibly be like on a real-life date? Turns out Tebb is sharp and hilarious, and even though this is technically an interview, she’s masterful at keeping our chat two-sided. After ordering us a plate of truffle fries to share, she makes carrying conversation feel like an art form, always knowing when to speak and what to say. “If I’m talking to you about, say, Europe, piggyback off of what I’m saying. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never

been there — just ask me about it,” says Tebb. “Or, you know, ask me why I chose this restaurant for the date. ‘Why’d you choose Luma?’ Well, because I love the truffle fries!” She takes a stick of the www.mycitylife.ca


glorious, garlicky goodness and dips it into some creamy aioli. “That’s a really good icebreaker, you know,” she adds as she pops the fry into her mouth. As one of the best-known matchmakers in Toronto, Tebb doesn’t disappoint. She’s a certified life-skills coach, so she’s able to fine-tune her clients’ “active listening” and “selfdisclosing” skills, and puff up their confidence before shipping them out on dates. Her favourite technique: having her clients write down five things they have to offer and telling them to post their list by their bedroom mirror as a daily mood-booster. “If you’re not happy with yourself, you’ll never be happy in a relationship,” says Tebb. “A lot of people’s lives are just work, gym, bed, work, gym, bed. I help them fill their jar with lots of rocks so they have lots to share.” She’s taught men about wine. She’s gone on mock dates, taking her clients out and educating them on date etiquette along the way, from keeping track of a date’s drinks to hand-touching and light flirting techniques. And then there’s her wingwoman service — popular among divorcées — where singles or clients can hire her for a Saturday night on the town, during which Tebb helps connect them organically with other singles, later providing constructive feedback on how they could improve interacting with the opposite sex (“I like to put people in the physical environment, because that’s how you learn.”).

For Valentine’s Day, Tebb advises couples to skip the pricey gifts and opt for a romantic getaway instead

TEBB HAS COACHED 300 SINGLES, AND 74 PER CENT OF HER MATCHES MAKE IT PAST THE THIRD DATE AND INTO A RELATIONSHIP

Years of training aside, Tebb is a born matchmaker. Raised by a single mom after her father passed away, Tebb spent her childhood years observing adult interactions, the spans of her mother’s various romances and getting to know what worked and what didn’t. “I never played with Barbies — instead I was the kid sitting at the dinner table listening to my mom chat with her friend,” she says. “I was always intrigued by that.” Fast-forward to her 20s, when she spent her university years coaching her friends on how to date-prep and deal with relationship woes while earning her bachelor’s degree in anthropology and sociology. Eventually she realized she could actually get paid for her ability to fan others’ flames. So, in 2010, Shanny in the City was born. Tebb has coached about 300 singles and matched 50 couples since then and boasts a 74 per cent success rate (meaning 74 per cent of her matches make it past the third date and into a relationship). And although she opened up shop in the age of Tinder — which boasts 26 million matches each day worldwide — the online dating thing hasn’t touched her numbers. In fact, business has never been better. She’s renting an office space on Temperance St. and plans to hire assistants this spring. And while she’s always only taken on local clients, she’s starting to go international. Recently, she was approached by one of the top

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Amalfi Coast Ristorante 905-889-0060 | 8020 Bathurst St., Thornhill, Ont. | amalficoastrestaurant.ca www.mycitylife.ca

Feb/Mar 2017

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10 wealthiest women in Canada, who’s looking for a very specific type of man: a ski-loving Colorado man, but not the fur-wearing Aspen dude, more like a cool, hipster guy. It’s Tebb’s biggest project yet, and she’s got a big plan to go with it. “I might be flying down there to do some skiing and recruiting,” she says. “I’m also working with some Colorado matchmakers to source some potentials.” The technical vibe of her day-to-day operations makes me wonder if the people dining next to us think she’s some sort of secret agent. Which, in a way, she is. Her clientele tends to be elite professionals between the ages of 30 and 50, people who have exhausted themselves on the more beaten paths of dating — be it an app or the oldfashioned method of trying to pick up at bars — and are ready to let a discreet professional do the legwork for them. “As bad as it sounds, I’m sort of my clients’ last resort,” says Tebb. In her six years of managing other people’s dating lifestyles, Tebb has developed an intimate sense of what most people desire. While the lure of traditional marriage is lessening, she says, people still do, and always will, have a profound desire to find someone to share life with. And what about Tebb’s own love life? “I’m single. I’m like the shoemaker with no shoes. Oh, God, don’t put that. I know you’re going to put that,” laughs Tebb, whose Bible is The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, and who classifies herself as a “touch” person. “I do eventually want marriage, kids, the whole package. But honestly, I’m just super focused on my business these days. I tell my clients that I’m completely devoted to them — with no husband or children, I’m all theirs!” And Foxy Roxy’s, of course. The day after our chat, while I’m still simmering over the love lessons I learned on my date with a professional matchmaker, Tebb’s Instagram starts popping with photos of her most successful pairing yet — her own, with the scruffy little pup. Tebb’s hashtag: “#perfectmatch.” www.shannyinthecity.com @shannyinthecity www.mycitylife.ca


A DV E R TO R I A L

She’s Got Sunshine

After a family tragedy, Kristina Pincente was inspired to become a Sun Life Financial advisor and navigate others through life-threatening illnesses

PHOTO BY CARLOS A. PINTO / DOLCE MEDIA GROUP

K

ristina Pincente was 24 years old and living her dream of owning a clothing boutique in downtown Toronto when the unthinkable happened: her 50-yearold mother was diagnosed with early onset dementia. Having never invested in critical illness insurance, the diagnosis caused Pincente’s mother’s life to crumble, and with it, her family’s. Pincente closed her shop to look after her mother, who soon after died of complications due to her condition. But there was a silver lining to her sadness: her mother’s passing inspired Pincente to enter the insurance industry, where she could help protect others from similar tragedies via a customized policy for critical illnesses. “That experience opened my eyes to what happens if you’re not prepared, and the difficulties that go along with [a diagnosis],” says Pincente, who completed her training two years ago before joining the Sun Life Financial team in Vaughan. “A lot of people have this misconception that if you get diagnosed with something, the government’s going to pay for chemo or whatever the case may be, and that’s not it.” While Pincente also works in other areas of insurance such as home, life and group, it is building her clients’ protective-illness insurance plans that makes her feel incredibly fulfilled. It’s a smart investment not only for her clients’ financial future, but also for their peace of mind. And the sooner, the better — Pincente says you shouldn’t wait until a diagnosis to invest in coverage.

www.mycitylife.ca

Inspired by her mother’s struggle with early onset dementia, Kristina Pincente became an insurance advisor, helping families protect themselves in similar situations

Now is the time “ you should be

buying [health insurance], because you’re at your healthiest

“I’m 29 now, and I feel like a lot of people my age think they’re invincible, but now is the time you should be buying because you’re at your healthiest and the premiums will be the lowest,” says Pincente. “You don’t want to wait until something happens. You risk the chance of becoming uninsurable or you get rated and your insurance premiums are through the roof.”

This year, Pincente is continuing to shine her light by partnering with Shine through the Rain, an organization that helps pay the bills of people struggling with critical illnesses who don’t have insurance. To protect yourself from whatever health challenges the future might have in store, connect with Pincente to schedule a complimentary, obligationfree consultation. She will build you a customized insurance policy that will keep you afloat, no matter what life throws your way.

Sun Life Financial 3300 Highway 7, Suite 401, Vaughan, Ont. 905-760-1650, ext. 2241 Cell: 416-454-2041 www.sunlife.ca/kristina.pincente

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I WANT YOUR JOB

UBER

CRUISERS Marcelo Paredes

Three cheers for the tech-savvy taxi alternative that’s changing the entrepreneurial game Written By Rebecca Alberico

UberX drivers in Toronto provide more than 500,000 rides each month

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Laura-Lynn Levesque among drivers and customers alike. The notable difference between Uber and a regular taxi service is the elimination of cash exchange. Prior to using the service, Uber customers must complete a detailed profile on the app and file a method of payment. Rates are predetermined based on distance and time, and accepted by the rider in advance. According to Uber, drivers make an average of $23 per hour. Many would argue that the most important difference is Uber’s increased security precautions. Uber appears to be a much more commendable service for both drivers and customers because everything is documented, leaving

digital breadcrumbs and holding all parties accountable for their actions. “It’s a more personal level of service,” says driver Marcelo Paredes. It felt like fate stepping into Paredes’s Uber — initially undercover for City Life. Noticeably nervous and eager to please his passengers, Paredes made light conversation and started on his way to my destination - he tells me that it was his first week driving. “So far I have all seven ratings of five stars,” he says, “I don’t know if that’s normal but I’m excited.” Because Uber drivers work as independent contractors on a rating system, it holds them accountable to a standard of safety, cleanliness and continued on page 62 www.mycitylife.ca

PHOTOS BY CARLOS A. PINTO / DOLCE MEDIA GROUP

A

stronaut, doctor and teacher are just a few of the careers you likely scribbled onto your ‘what I want to be’ assignment in first grade. Then, as you entered adulthood, you realized that all you really wanted to be when you grew up was anything that allowed you to sleep as long as you please and make it home in time for dinner. Sure, the nine-to-five office gig is a perfectly square routine, and working the late shift is great for night owls, but can you imagine turning your job on and off at the touch of a button? This is the reality for the Uber drivers in our city. Over the past year, the tech-based ride service that allows you to order your ride with ease has been booming


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According to the City of Toronto, the number of Uber passengers in Toronto grows by 15,000 to 20,000 each week

Mark Barski continued from page 60

respect — dip below a 4.7 and you’re at risk of deactivation. Paredes has a background in accounting and IT, and is currently working for a large postal service. He tells me that he’s taken a couple weeks off his job to give Uber a try, and even bought a brand new car for the adventure. “I’m not holding back. I’m giving this 100 per cent,” says a hopeful Paredes. What does he love most about driving for Uber? “Well, I’ve been aiming to start around 10 a.m.,” he says. “If I’m my own boss, I’m not going to have anybody bossing me around, so my day is going to start at 10.” This kind of flexible schedule is what has kept single mom Laura-Lynn Levesque driving for Uber for over a year now. The ability to plan her day around her children’s school hours and extracurriculars is a luxury she simply didn’t have with her previous job in the hospitality industry. Levesque also tells me that working for herself allows her to drive as much as she needs to to meet her financial needs in any given week. Uber pays weekly, but the tech-based ride service has even launched the option for drivers to collect their earnings daily. “For the last seven years we had kind 62

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“ I MEET A LOT OF

PEOPLE FROM DIFFERENT INDUSTRIES AND ALL WALKS OF LIFE. I LOVE IT

— Laura-Lynn Levesque, Uber driver

of been rocking the poverty line and [driving for Uber] has brought me out of that,” she says. “My boys and I have been able to go camping, plan vacations this year and I can even take three weeks off and go to Quebec to see my father. It’s been amazing.” What’s even more amazing is the lasting friendships and connections that Levesque has established through Uber. As a freelance photographer and recording engineer, she has been able to swap business cards with a number of other creative professionals. “I meet a lot of people from different

industries and all walks of life. I love it,” says Levesque, whose most memorable trip was an impromptu excursion from Toronto to Montréal for a businessman who desperately needed to make a 6 a.m. meeting. What do complete strangers talk about for six hours? Driver Mark Barski may have a couple of ideas. The 23-year-old aspiring lawyer loves striking up conversations and sharing a few good laughs with his passengers. “It’s a lot of fun meeting 30 to 40 people a night. I always learn something new,” says Barski, who has been driving for about a year now. Just recently, he met a passenger who gifted him a jar of Carolina Reaper peppers — the hottest pepper in the world. It turns out she was one of the top growers of the record-setting pepper in Toronto. This sure beats Barski’s former job, where he was putting in 10 to 12 hours a day at a desk and “reaping” no rewards. A student at the time he started driving for Uber, Barski needed to make sure Uber was lucrative. He enjoyed being able to work around his class hours but quickly noticed that the thousands of kilometres he was racking up per month would ruin his car. Determined to find a more strategic way to go about sourcing customers, Barski began to study patterns and analytics he pulled from third-party apps. “I think I kind of have it down to a science at this point,” he says. “A lot of it has to do with me staying up and graphing it, recording where the hotspots are in the city and knowing when they’re the busiest.” Talk about a formula for success. The labour landscape is changing at mach speeds, and Uber is at the forefront of the shift towards an appbased world. Whether they’re full-time or part-time, motivated, self-starting entrepreneurs are taking advantage of the ability to control the flow of their income and put in a few more hours when extra expenses arise or to save for a rainy day. Business aside, Uber affords drivers and riders alike the opportunity to meet new faces, socialize and build lasting connections — that alone is worthy of my five-star rating. www.uber.com www.mycitylife.ca


At 255 by Alta Rossa, inspired culinary concepts and fresh, unique fare come together in a modern Italian dining experience

PHOTO BY CARLOS A. PINTO / DOLCE MEDIA GROUP

A DV E R TO R I A L

Owned by makeup artist Mary DiGregoriCentorame, Dash Beauty Bar and Accessories beautifies Vaughan with its extensive menu of services

A Dash of Beauty Step inside Vaughan’s beauty boutique, carrying professional makeup lines, designer jewellery and accessories

D 905-669-1255

255 Bass Pro Mills Dr. Unit 703A Vaughan, Ont.

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ash Beauty Bar and Accessories is a boutiquestyle beauty bar providing professional makeup and hair services both on-and off-site for special events, editorial shoots and more. The popular beauty boutique was founded by owner Mary DiGregori-Centorame, a Certified Image Consultant and published makeup artist with both a diploma and certificate in makeup artistry. Having worked in front of and behind the camera, DiGregori-Centorame ensures Dash uses only photography-grade HD makeup, including Make Up For Ever. Dash Beauty Academy is another branch of the boutique, offering certificate courses in makeup artistry as well as training in eyelash extensions and brow waxing and shaping. The academy also provides exciting job placement opportunities through its partnership with the Hudson’s Bay recruitment team. The boutique ensures a memorable and personalized service, be it in makeup or hair artistry, eyelash extensions, eyebrow microblading, waxing, tinting or even the new Oxygen Facial, which is coming to the boutique soon.

DASH BEAUTY BAR & ACCESSORIES Dash Beauty Bar and Accessories 1450 Major Mackenzie Dr., Unit 4, Vaughan, Ont. 905-832-7222 www.dashbeauty.ca

Feb/Mar 2017

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#CityFinds

Need some lifestyle inspo? Find it here — from cars to condos, our editors curate their current favourites

▶ Rise Up: Dubbed “the jewel of Vaughan,” the Icona Condominium features modern suite designs that maximize space and exude luxury, envisioned by the award-winning interior design firm, Studio Munge. With a spectacular view from the highest vantage point in Vaughan at Highway 7 and Interchange Way. www.guptagroup.ca

◀ Cue the Q3: Audi’s done it again, wowing car lovers with the Q3 2017, the year’s most cutting-edge crossover www.audiuptown.ca ▶ Canuck Contemporary: Contemporar Designed and crafted in Canada since 2001, EQ3 EQ brings cottage cosy to the t big city www.eq3.com www.eq3.co

◀ What’s Cooking: Le Creuset’s iconic cookware is beloved for its durability, superior heat retention and sophisticated style. www.bramalifestyles.com

Vap Stix - Intense ▼ Discreet Treat: Vapz nt offers a refreshing and cool flavour. Mint Shop p now at www.vapz.com www.vap p and receive rs purchase when 20 per cent off your first V you use promo code: VAPZCITYLIFE

▶ What’s the Skinny? You don’t have to be a punk-rocker to rock this faded black denim look www.hm.com

▶ Our Daily Bread: Indulge in the devilishly good bread from the local artisinal bakers at Lucifero Loaves www.luciferoloaves.ca

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

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www.mycitylife.ca


A DV E R TO R I A L

Spread the Sweetness

Step inside Oh So Sweet, Vaughan’s favourite nut-free dessert boutique

PHOTO BY CARLOS A. PINTO / DOLCE MEDIA GROUP

From Valentine’s Day to birthdays, Oh So Sweet’s Rosa Cirillo knows how to sweeten the occasion

W

ho says that late winter has to be so blue? With Valentine’s Day and communion and confirmation season coming up, there’s so much to celebrate, and Oh So Sweet has you covered for all your parties, from the intimate to the extravagant. Known for its nut-free baked goods and loved for its artistic (and delicious)

edible displays, Oh So Sweet has become Vaughan’s favourite dessert spot. Owner Rosa Cirillo has crafted a scrumptious and versatile menu of treats to suit any occasion, and her custom orders will make your event the talk of the season. “I only use the finest ingredients out there to make unique desserts from

scratch,” says Cirillo, who opened up shop in 2012. “Whether your sweet tooth is craving an ornate cake or a batch of simple cookies, we promise to create a memorable and delicious dish.”

8099 Weston Rd., Unit 15, Vaughan, Ont. 905-265-9898 www.ohsosweet.ca

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cataldi.ca Feb/Mar 2017

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Waves of Changes for Autism Gala

Gino Contardi, Ellen Contardi, Honorable Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua, Councillor Rosanna De Francesca, Deputy Mayor Michael Di Biase

ANNOUNCEMENT

On Dec. 7, the Waves of Changes for Autism Inaugural Gala Event made a splash with over 500 guests, sponsors and donors from the community in attendance. Mayor of Vaughan, Maurizio Bevilacqua was also in attendance and presented the foundation with a donation from his Spirit of Generosity fund. The nonprofit organization proudly assists families that have children on the spectrum with the financial costs incurred for specialized treatments and programs. www.wavesofchangesforautism.com

MARK YOUR CALENDARS... MAY

PREMIER CYCLING EXPERIENCE OF THE SEASON

11th Annual Giro Fundraising Event by Villa Charities Foundation Sunday, May 28, 2017 Registration at 6:30 a.m. Ride at 8 a.m. Eagles Nest Golf Club, Maple $75/person, fundraising min. $500 Tickets & Event Details: www.villacharities.com

JUNE VAUGHAN IS LOOKING FOR SPIRITED AMBASSADORS TO TAKE PART IN

150

DAY AT THE RACES FOR BEST BUDDIES

CANADA CELEBRATIONS

11th Annual Thrill of Ascot Saturday, June 3, 2017 Woodbine Racetrack Tickets & Event Details: www.bestbuddies.ca

IN

celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation, Vaughan will be joining in the festivities through a number of exciting community-partnered events and programs. The VaughanLink Ambassador Program, expected to launch this April, is welcoming volunteers to take part in this memorable anniversary celebration. Ambassadors will be trained and fully equipped with information and fun promotional swag. Duties will include showing community spirit with pride while assisting at special City events, spreading the word about exciting local events and being advocates of arts and culture. www.vaughan.ca 66

City Life Magazine

Feb/Mar 2017

JUNE

CELEBRATE CUISINE

The Stop’s Big Night at The Green Barn Wednesday, June 7, 2017 at 6 p.m. Artscape Wychwood Barns, Toronto Individual Tickets: $200 Table of 10: $2,000 Tickets & Event Details: bignight.thestop.org

www.mycitylife.ca

PHOTO COURTESY OF WAVES OF CHANGES FOR AUTISM

People & Places


THE ESSENCE OF ADVANCED HOME AUTOMATION

ELAN g! Touch Panel The ELAN remote, touch panels and keypad offer you smart home control from wherever you are. Find peace of mind even when you’re out of town with the ELAN g! mobile app.

WHOLE HOME AUDIO • HOME THEATRES • HOME AUTOMATION by ELAN g! • SECURITY CAMERAS HOME NETWORKING • AUTOMATED LIGHTING For nearly two decades, Automatic Switching has been committed to providing clients with superior service in both residential and commercial applications. We are proud to offer state-of-the-art technology that meets your needs and exceeds your expectations.

391 Edgeley Blvd., Concord, Ont. Office Unit #12 Hours: Monday to Friday 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

www.mycitylife.ca

Showroom Unit #14 Hours: Monday to Saturday (By appointment only) 905-669-6310

www.automaticswitching.com

®

Feb/Mar 2017

City Life Magazine

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THE OUTDOOR LIVING EXPERTS!

Lifestyles For the Chef at Home

Visit our retail location now for the best home cookware brands!

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City Life Magazine

Feb/Mar 2017

www.mycitylife.ca

175 Romina Dr., Vaughan | 905.760.9200 | BramaLifestyles.com

City Life Magazine — Feb/Mar 2017  
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