Event Photography: Matt Smith | @MattSKW
New Kids on the Block
Shaken & Stirred
One Woman Show
Thirst for Art
Scratching the Surface
Family Fun Guide
Historical Feel, Modern Smash
A Sense of Belonging
A Part of Me
Matched for Success
The Future is Female
Tech Resets Its Compass
It’s our unwavering sense of community that truly defines Downtown Kitchener. It’s where dreamers, creators and makers find neighbours, collaborators and friends. No matter the size, scale or type of change you want to champion, if it betters our community, people here will help you! And if you simply want to be a part of something, there’s a place for you in DTK.
SARAH PEPPER & JOHN KENT, co-owners of J&P Grocery, located at 8 Queen St N | @JandPgrocery Photography: Dean Landry
NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK | 3
"This is what a city is, bits and pieces that supplement each other and support each other." - Jane Jacobs J&P is much more than a neighbourhood their nest on Victoria Park. And at their grocer. It’s part of a movement that began business, too – a 5,200 square-foot space in downtown Kitchener over a decade ago, that used to house part of the old Goudies just after I’d uprooted from Kitchener department store. J&P Grocery. to Guelph. Part of a movement that has seen the downtown core transform from "We’re like the anti-grocery-store grocer," a place we tended to ignore as kids, remarks co-owner Sarah Pepper as we adolescents and young adults to a global sip Americanos together. At the coolest destination for talent. And innovation. little café perched high up on a centuryAnd entrepreneurship. A place in old mezzanine. Inside the grocer. Every which visionary thinking is not only grocery store should have one of these, I encouraged but also supported think to myself, relaxing into my chair. by like-minded folks who are "Pretty awesome, eh?" It seems that Sarah collaboratively re-animating the reads my mind. She continues: "We created core – seemingly one old factory J&P for moments like these – and for folks at a time. A place John Kent like us." She nods towards her husband and Sarah Pepper – the ‘J’ and and business partner, Johnny, who’s seated ‘P’ of ‘J&P’ – call home. At with us. "For folks who chose to live and
work downtown but – until now – didn’t have a neighbourhood grocer where they could do a full grocery shop." I peer over the mezzanine at shoppers below. Young professionals and mothers with strollers treading up and down the aisles. Seemingly biding their time. Enjoying the process. Wild. "When we first started talking about opening what would become J&P," Johnny adds, "we were driven by very particular influences and inspirations. West coast independent grocers, for instance, that all seem to have cool mezzanines, comfortable cafés and a laid back vibe. And European grocery stores, where folks tend to visit – by foot or by bike – more than once a week to pick up the essentials. Places and spaces we’ve loved visiting on our travels – and that we think fit well into the vibe of our emergent downtown scene." A vibe that’s been driven primarily by Kitchener’s ever-expanding tech sector: a sector whose workplace
aesthetic is informed in equal parts by an ode to the city’s industrial past, and by playfulness, and child-like wonderment too. An aesthetic that’s evident from top to bottom at J&P. Located in Downtown Kitchener,
JUST A FEW OF DTK'S MANY UNIQUE GROCERS: New City Supermarket
236 King St. E | 519-585-0288
Mi Tienda Latina Food Store
103 Ontario St. S | 519-576-0809
SMK African Foods
206 King S | smkafricanfoods.com
10 King St. E | legacygreensonline.com
Full Circle Foods
3 Charles St. W | 519-744-5331
nestled in at the end of Goudies Lane, with one entrance facing onto the lane and the other onto the back of a nondescript parking lot. The place seems less grocer and more secret clubhouse. Happen inside and a hip vibe pervades the space. The splendid hardwood floors. The soaring interior expanse that’s punctuated by the upper level mezzanine outfitted with the grocer’s café – the cobranded Smile Tiger at J&P. (Yep. That Smile Tiger.) The minimalist, airy shelving stocked with unique, local products. Products that Sarah and Johnny are so very proud to discover and curate. "We love showcasing – and moving – local makers’ creations. Like West of Seoul Kimchi. And Essen Soups. And other amazing products that excite us. After all, we’re our business’ target market." As am I, I think to myself, already imagining how I’ll incorporate kimchi into the night’s dinner menu. And then there’s the grocer’s commercial kitchen – an integral ingredient of J&P’s recipe for success. "Chef Brendan Gingrich and his team are awesome," rhapsodizes Sarah about the grocer’s in-house kitchen crew. "What he’s been able to do for our catering program is invaluable to the sustainability of the business. From barbeque to classic French cuisine, J&P is becoming a fixture on the local catering scene." A scene whose clients include Kitchener’s largest tech and innovation firms. Like Vidyard, for instance – the grocer’s neighbour next door. "[The community has] been phenomenal to us," Johnny says. It’s become a common theme – ongoing support from downtown businesses and business leaders who work to ensure each others’ success. Sarah chimes in: "It’s actually been incredible how much help and continued encouragement we’ve received from folks who really don’t owe us anything." Community support. It’s a common theme that runs through the J&P narrative. Support for the downtown community by Sarah and Johnny who saw the real need for a neighbourhood grocer. And support for Sarah and Johnny by the same downtown community that has a strong desire to see J&P Grocery thrive. A community determined to see this downtown movement through to the end. Driven by talent. And innovation. And entrepreneurship. And, now, by a killer downtown grocer, too.
Photography: Evin Lachance
Being Vegan does not have be tasteless, nor does it have to deprive you of your favourite flavours. And being vegan in Downtown Kitchener is no exception. This city is packed with nutrient-dense choices for anyone looking to stand up for animal rights or at least limit their carbon footprint. People choose a vegan lifestyle for a variety of reasons, but there are some myths that could use some debunking: vegan food does not cost more, is not bland, and definitely does not lack options. In fact, as the demand for meeting dietary needs rises, flavourful, interesting, vegan cuisine is thriving everywhere, especially in Downtown Kitchener.
#WHATVEGANSEAT | 7
PURE JUICE BAR AND KITCHEN
Being vegan doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t mean you have to give up that sweet tooth. The chocolate brownie from Unity Baking is by far the best I have ever had. I was amazed with how moist it is, and the decadent flavours inherent of any brownie are certainly not lost with the omission of diary or eggs. The motherdaughter team at the helm of Unity Baking encourages pre-ordering vegan treats you might want in the future, but their baked goods are also for sale on site.
Put the fruit and granola away and order a Vegan BLT from The Yeti! This yummy morning sandwich comes loaded with jazcon (coconut bacon), greens, tomatoes, avocados, and slaw, and the Buddha sauce that offers a seriously refreshing twist. Pair it with the sweet potato hash, and this meal can easily be shared. Get to The Yeti early, though: the cozy, vintage, seven-table cafĂŠ fills up fast. The staff is friendly and the mismatched dishes and mugs make you feel at home.
Pure is a fantastic place to meet all your vegan needs. The owner, Ewelina, is incredibly knowledgeable about her products. Top picks: tomato soup served with artisan bread, Buddha bowl with quinoa, energy balls and cold pressed juice. Every meal at Pure exceeds expectations of what great vegan food should taste like. Not dining alone? The sleek interior makes Pure a great place for a date, with a fresh menu that everyone can enjoy.
331 King St W | @unitybaking
14 Eby St N | @theyeticafe
305 King St West Unit 101 | @purejbk
LOOKING FOR MORE OPTIONS? HERE ARE OUR FAVES: Cafe Pyrus
16 Charles St W | cafepyrus.com
256 King St E | 519-603-4240 x 227
East African Cafe
50 Ontario St S | eastafricancafe.com
Fat Bastard Burrito
RAINBOW CARIBBEAN CUISINE
306 King St W | fatbastardburrito.ca
29 King St E | @rainbowcuisine.ca
Sit down or take out some Roti stuffed with callaloo and fried plantain. This comfort meal is crazy tasty and authentic to Caribbean cuisine. The environment is filled with soca music and friendly staff who make you feel at home. No
matter your dietary need, Rainbow Caribbean can work with you on it; vegan options include boiled dumplings, yams and chickpea wraps. LUISA GIANGUALANO
14 Duke St E | freshmex.ca
Queen Street Commons
43 Queen St S | 519-749-9177 x1
1. 25 oz Makers Mark bourbon
0.5 oz dry vermouth
FROM THE LOKAL 2 - 20 Queen St S | walper.com/lokal
In mixing pitcher on rocks, stir liquids until chilled. Strain into martini glass. Garnish with dried, burnt lemon floating in glass.
0.5 oz Averna amaro
1oz Burnt Lemon Syrup:
Photography: Evin Lachance
In medium sized pot, bring to boil 5 cups of water, 4 cups of sugar, and 5 sliced burnt lemon. Once boiling, bring down to simmer for 30 mins. Filter through cheese cloth or mesh strainer
SHAKEN & STIRRED | 9
KNOW MY JAM FROM ABE ERB BREWING COMPANY 151 Charles St W | abeerb.com
Dash of bitters
Shake for 7 seconds. Garnish with lime.
1.5 oz of 5-year-old El Dorado Rum
2 tsp local preserves (AVAILABLE AT ABE ERB)
0.75 oz fresh lime juice
0. 5 oz egg whites
4 oz dry white wine
0.5 oz Cointreau
Splash of sparkling lemonade
0.5 oz St. Germain elderflower liqueur 0.5 oz Soho lychee liqueur
Splash of soda
GILT SANGRIA FROM GILT RESTAURANT, BAR & LOUNGE 305 King St W | giltrestaurant.ca
Pour ingredients over ice. Garnish with berries and an edible flower.
SHAKEN & STIRRED | 11
FROM THE GRAND TRUNK SALOON 30 Ontario St S | grandtrunksaloon.com
Add all ingredients + ice to a mixing glass. Stir for 20 seconds. Strain into a rocks glass with ice. Garnish with a rosemary sprig. Light sprig on fire if you want to get someone’s attention.
0.5 oz Cynar artichoke liqueur
2 dashes tobacco bitters 1 oz Bulleit smoked corn husk bourbon
0. 25 oz turbinado syrup
0.5 oz Byrrh Grand Quinquina
ANDREW THOM at Show & Tell Coffee, located at 30 Ontario St N | @showtellcoffee Photography: Dean Landry
SERENDIPITY | 13
Focused on sourcing strictly high grade coffees roasted by industry leaders to bring out the most vibrant and sweet flavour profiles, Show & Tell evolved out of a passion for coffee. “I can think of at least 10 cafes along King Street from Cedar to Victoria, all of them unique in their own way,” says Show & Tell co-creator, Andrew Thom. “There’s not anywhere else in the region with a more culturally diverse community that shows as much love and support for its neighbours.” Andrew credits coffee shops like Matter of Taste, Café Pyrus, Smile Tiger Coffee Roasters and Settlement Co. for redefining good coffee, and good neighbouring. “We couldn't pass up the opportunity to become part of the community when our space became available.” Those cafes, among others, introduced unique types of coffee and niche preparation styles, warming the community up to a new culture. The result? The stage is set for businesses like Show & Tell to add to Kitchener’s brewing, pouring, pressing, roasting, sourcing and serving identity. “Currently the biggest barrier in specialty coffee is getting information over the counter without boring, confusing or
alienating your guest,” says Andrew. “Luckily, we love sharing the story of each coffee, so the additional work wouldn't be perceived as problematic for us. The excitement you derive from changing people’s perception of what coffee is and can be is a thrill in itself.” With the addition of Show & Tell, downtown’s coffee culture continues to diversify. In the words of Andrew, “there seems to be a café for everyone.” ANNA BEARD
HAVE YOU VISITED ALL OF THESE HIDDEN GEMS? Café Joy
235 King St E, Unit 170 | @cafejoysmile
30 Duke St W | mercurycafe.ca
376 King St E | novaera.ca
Queen Street Commons
43 Queen St S | theworkingcentre.org
I moved to Kitchener-Waterloo for university and stayed. My interest in cultural diversity kept me exploring the city and as a result, I found myself among young intellectuals, activists, and entrepreneurs. I had stumbled upon something unique: the work of Janice Jo Lee. Janice is a poet, singer/song-writer and theatre artist with a notable voice in Kitchener’s thriving, independent art scene. Having lived here for a decade, she understands that to stay in Kitchener as a Canadian-Korean queer female artist is an act of resistance. Anchoring her commitment to Kitchener’s art scene is the unique relationships she maintains with other artists. “The scene is small enough that the visual artists know the theatre artists, know the film makers, know the poets,” she says. “There is a lot of collaboration rather than competition because we’re all trying to bring the public out to see our work. It’s like a joint campaign and struggle.” Upholding this collaborative scene requires more than joint struggle, though. It needs an active audience. “People need to know and see how amazing the artists are because we just keep losing them,” Janice says.
JANICE PERFORMING "Will You Be My Friend" at the Conrad Centre for the Performing Arts | janicejolee.ca Photo courtesy of Green Light Arts
Young artists are often tempted to move to bigger, diverse cities, where they feel more accurately represented in the cultural landscape. While millennials have experienced social movements around the G20, Occupy, Idle No More, and Black Lives Matter, Kitchener has seen few protests. Storytellers like Janice are working to remedy this disconnection from important, representative social movements. Her work captures the struggles experienced in Kitchener-Waterloo.
CULTURAL CREATIVE | 15
Like a trickster poking and prodding her audience, Janice turns friendship into an act of resistance in her one-woman musical comedy titled “Will You Be My Friend?” and produced by Green Light Arts. Through satirical comedy, she reveals her experience of living in Kitchener as a person of colour. “A story about a specific person, about patriarchy and feminism is relatable. I make those connections from the macro to the micro. We’re supposed to laugh at ourselves and then ask what we can do about that.” Janice's Korean identity is central to her work. Her latest performances include new ancestor songs that feature the jangu, a Korean drum, and deliver a more elevated sound. “I’ve lived in KW for 12 years, completely cut off from my Korean identity and culture, and I’ve been grieving that. I have been reconnecting
with my cultural ancestry and taking that back from a music point of view,” she says. “It is an entire process of decolonizing my mind and coming back to myself, my centre. My culture is not a detriment as I have been trained through racism to think.” Janice’s challenging, engaging work has been shared with a changing city throughout her decade-long career, but the need for collaboration and partnership between the arts and industry remains constant. “I think we’re both talking about creativity and innovation,” she says. “For some reason, people still don’t think the arts is as an essential industry. Arts and culture is what makes a place livable. Work is not enough to make people stay.” ZABEEN KHAMISA
GOODVIBES ONLY To listen to his new songs and more, search Martin Beta on Soundcloud Photography: Dean Landry
BOUNDLESS OPTIMISM | 17
Martin Okot, a.k.a. Martin Beta, is so eager to tell me about his new single that the interview starts before we even sit down. It's called Sour Sour. “It means ‘good good.’ And you know, in Arabic, it means ‘the power of people getting together.’” At 22 years old, Martin produces afrobeat and house music, but he dabbles in everything from Melbourne bounce to future house. “If you listen to my music, it’s good vibes only,” he says. Recalling a house party last year, Martin explains how his song “I Know You Like My Style” was released to the public by accident when his turntable was unattended. “From outside I heard it play.
People were just wildin’, dancing. I walked in and everyone was just going off.”
“Most people [in Uganda] had run from war, they were refugees. Every year they would have a big party and so many Martin earned his DJ chops at Kitchener's people would come,” he says. “I was so District Nightclub, curating sets of pop, into it, always driven by that stuff. So R&B, hip-hop, house, and country. when I came here, I always had that thing in me, like, 'I want to produce. I want to Martin also volunteers with the Ubuntu make music.” Kids Club, an after-school program run by the African Canadian Association of Martin's next step is to produce a Waterloo Region and Area (ACAWRA). choreographed performance of “Sour Sour,” which he talks about with boundless optimism. “I'm just going there to DJ and to show the talent. Because we're trying to make these “I’ve got this new song coming up, it’s kids feel free. Make them feel like they can going to shake up the city, man.” really achieve what they dream.” Martin notes the power of music bringing people together during his own childhood.
EXPRESSIVE THEATRE Check out more real-world theatre at mtspace.ca Photography: Dean Landry
ONE WOMAN SHOW | 19
If there’s one word that characterizes Nada Humsi’s views on theatre, it’s “relevant.” Not “trendy” or “popular” or “why don’t more people come out to theatre?” (Okay, that’s eight words.)
one-woman shows, her stop in Kitchener was the result of an invite from MT Space Artistic Director Majdi Bou-Matar. He asked Nada to perform in The Last 15 Seconds, a play about the 2005 terrorist attack on Halloween series producer Mustapha Akkad and his daughter.
Nada was born and educated in Damascus, Syria. Such a city carries connotations to Canadians who only hear about the conflicts in Syria, but Nada says people’s perception of Syria is built by looking “Majdi Bou-Matar chooses subjects that are through the wrong lens. relevant to real people and things that are coming from real people,” Nada says. Damascus, the oldest, continuously inhabited city in the world, is a cosmopolitan city. Majdi’s style is in stark contrast to the Women wearing shorts and belly-button theatre work Nada took on when she first rings walk and sit alongside women in hijab. arrived in Canada: Shakespeare. Nada’s desire for relevant theatre has taken her around the world – and Kitchener made the list. While she’s often touring her own
However, it wasn’t only the relevancy in Majdi’s work that Nada liked, it was the philosophy. It reminded Nada of the
Syrian productions she was familiar with; theatre wasn’t produced for entertainment value, instead it was produced to express something to the artists and audiences. According to Nada, a play’s relevance does not define its quality, because every individual establishes relevance differently. “When the subject is not relevant to me, it is not touching me as a person, who came from that part of the world,” she says. “Even if I enjoy it, if it is very well done, and then later it doesn't stay with me because it's not relevant, I forget about it.”
Photography: Dean Landry
As far back as Colin Higgins can possibly remember, he’s dreamt of making art for a living. Colin has always loved to draw, and a passion for tattooing stemmed from that relationship with art. He pursued this at the University of Guelph through a Bachelor of Arts in studio art, and study became practice after he graduated. Colin is now one of the co-owners of Berlin Tattoo downtown. “I completely fell in love with tattooing. Doing this job essentially allows me to draw on people to support myself, and I’m quite happy,” he says of his role at Berlin Tattoo. Now in its ninth year downtown, Berlin Tattoo was initially founded by long-time friends, Ben Ryan and Dustin Barnhart. Having worked together previously in another
MAINSTREAM INK | 21
tattoo shop, the two already had a solid basis for their business. Berlin Tattoo’s clientele over the years ranges from the everyday, middle class tattoo fiend to school principals. Colin attributes the wide demographic to Kitchener’s identity as a “tattoo city.” “I’ve tattooed people from every walk of life; I’ve tattooed a nun, I’ve tattooed school principals, cops, coffee shop workers, office and factory workers,” Colin says. “Everyone gets tattooed in KW, which is nice because you don’t get that in every major city.” While the client's happiness is absolutely their first priority, Colin and the other artists have a range of favourite tattooing styles. “Fine line black and grey tattooing, commonly
referred to as traditional, Asian or Japanese tattooing, [we] like that kind of style. We’re also fond of American traditional tattooing, with more bold lines and bright colours.” Berlin Tattoo puts a huge emphasis on quality, but when it comes down to it, Colin favours traditional styles. His theory: anything visually pleasing should be done. If you haven’t seen it before, it’s probably because it doesn’t work. “I find the best way to tackle tattooing is to adhere to tradition, to do your research, study it, and try to develop it with a sense of your own voice within the work.” NATHALIE BOUCHARD
Berlin Tattoo 19 King St E, 2nd floor | theberlintattoo.com
Photography: Nadine Phillips + Adam Schwartzentruber
Where are your installations downtown?
Settlement, Goudies Lane, Abe Erb, Smile. io, and there's one inside Vidyard that I did with my husband, Adam Schwartzentruber. Why do you enjoy working downtown?
Everyone here is receptive to artwork, and so enthusiastic about it. Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a thirst for art. Because Kitchener-Waterloo has a techhub, a lot of the people have innovative attitudes. Theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re more forward-thinking and progressive, and always interested in new projects.
S STEPHANIE in front of her completed mural in Goudies Lane
Q INSIDE THE SHARED WORKSPACE of Stephanie and Adam
THIRST FOR ART | 23
Where did you get your inspiration for the mural in Goudies Lane?
How do you think public art can help downtown move forward with its growth?
A lot of it comes from architecture; that was my background. I really wanted to create something that had a three-dimensional quality to it.
It helps make places more meaningful and engaging. Art helps with creating landmarks. In a business, it can help showcase a brand.
When I’m doing murals I like to think that I’m breaking open the wall and creating visual depth. It was a small area to work with, and I wanted to create something eyecatching and bold.
It can also show the artist’s imagination and create a unique atmosphere. It’s about creating awe and wonder.
Why do you think public art is important?
It encourages people to engage with their environment. Art can inspire creativity or social interactions. Art in the public realm makes places more vibrant and lively, and more pedestrian-friendly by encouraging people to wander around.
If you could do one project downtown, what would it be?
One of my dreams would be to design art for a multi-building façade. Whether it’s painting onto the building, or integrating art directly into the architecture, like the University of Waterloo’s pharmacy building. I would love to be involved with something of that scale.
OVER THE SUMMER OF 2017, THESE MURALISTS TRANSFORMED GOUDIES LANE:
(listed in order from Ontario towards Queen)
Jordan Warmington @jordan_war
Clare Binnie + Underground Gallery
@binnieclareart + @undergroundgallery
How would you like to see people interact with your art?
I would like them to engage with it. Some people enjoy being around it because it inspires creativity, or they simply use it as a backdrop for photographs. I love the reactions from kids â&#x20AC;&#x201D; they're so perceptive, especially to bright colours â&#x20AC;&#x201D; it makes them want to jump and dance. If someone notices my art and pauses even for a moment, that's what makes me happy. ELIZABETH DICESARE
R TWO-STOREY MURAL of Stephanie's inside of Abe Erb at The Tannery
Q ADD YOUR OWN PHOTO to the #GoudiesLane photo gallery!
THIRST FOR ART | 25
Photography: Sam Trieu
As we walk through the renovations at the former Schreiter's furniture gallery, Adah Trabulsi, principal of design studio Dfy, sketches visions in the air of what is to come. Work areas separated by glass walls to control noise and encourage light, a prayer room with a foot washing station, and exposed brick blasted free from layers of plaster all make it to the drawing board. “It was an industrial city and we’re pulling out the history of it,” says Adah. This reclaimed-modern office aesthetic is trending right now. But for Adah, it’s an opportunity to tell the stories of old buildings in their second life. Dfy (as in “defy the norm”) specializes in complete interior design for the tech
startups that have become the region’s newest powerhouse sector. The seeds of Dfy were planted as the lead of the design division to a development and construction company. That unique start gave Adah a background in development construction, years of job-site experience, and a magpie’s eye for material details. Back on Gaukel Street, Adah gestures toward an iron-clad, wood supporting pillar. She spotted it when it was slated to be regressed behind new walls. Now, the scarred wood is a focal point at one of the entrances.
On the approach to second life spaces, Adah says “we’ll walk around the building and say ‘OK, what can we salvage. How can we bring the history of the building and the space forward?’” Adah’s expertise has been called into structures with diverse origin stories including a funeral home, a former department store and a cavernous 400,000 square foot warehouse. Her work’s inspiration – a revitalizing downtown – is part of what’s keeping Adah in this old manufacturing town; she gets to rework these familiar landscapes.
SCRATCHING THE SURFACE | 27
S ADAH ON SITE during the transformation inside the old Schreiter's building at Charles & Gaukel
And it’s no different at home. Adah and her husband recently purchased a Victorianstyle house built in 1905, with a roof that is collapsed over the living room. Aside from the design opportunities of history-rich buildings, something else is keeping Adah creative in Kitchener. “I’ve had clients that became friends. People are more open here, easier to work with. You’re creating relationships here.” SAM TRIEU Dfy Studio 279 King St W, Unit 200 | @dfystudio
Photography: Laura McBride
As thriving businesses move downtown, so do their employees. Catering to this new population, an influx of programs and events have flourished. We’ve compiled a list of top picks for families no matter their make-up. Newborns
“Toddler Time.” No tot would want to miss Thursday and Friday mornings at Kitchener Public Library’s (KPL) newly Kitchener’s Farmer’s Market: it makes for a renovated main branch is a perfect first stop. fantastic Kitchener tradition. It’s bright and airy, and has a large section where kids can be kids, snacks can be eaten For more indoor activity, the padded toddler and the books are endless. Free programs room at THEMUSEUM is the best place range from newborn to toddler, and when for babies to take their first step, and the class is over, find a seat in one of the permanent collection stays fun and engaging comfortable chairs by the front windows as your children grow. Most parents find the to chat with a friend and grab a treat from annual pass is the best value for families Hacienda Coffee. with young kids. Toddlers
Continue with “One is Fun” programming S CHARLOTTE AND HER FRIEND running through the stacks at the KPL at KPL or stop by Bethany Evangelical Church every Wednesday morning for Q ZAIN enjoying THEMUSEUM
FAMILY FUN GUIDE | 29
S GREAT TOBOGGANING can be found in many DTK parks.
Victoria Park and Weber Park (at Frederick St & Edna St) are both great for beginners!
Start looking for activities that engage your family’s minds and their energy. Victoria Park has a newly-renovated playground, with equipment that is interesting for kids of all ages. In the summer, rent a canoe, have lunch on The Boathouse's patio, visit the splash pad, or watch the hot air balloons slowly take off at dusk. A short walk away, Schneider Haus has yearround learning and activities, and always finds unique ways to celebrate the holidays. Schneider Haus is part of the Region's museum membership: great value for local families. The festivals abound downtown, from the Multicultural Festival to Kidspark to the
S ON STAGE with Alysha Brilla at the 2017 Multicultural Festival
ever-expanding neighbourhood porch parties. From May to October, the fun, free outdoor festivals are too plentiful to list.
makers can flourish back at KPL among the coding courses, homework help programs, VR machine or 3D printers.
As the weather gets colder, outdoor fun is still prevalent downtown. Victoria Park boasts several small toboggan hills and a skating rink at the foot of the clock tower.
It’s no surprise that families are attracted to the urban landscapes, historic homes and walkable destinations of Downtown Kitchener. Residents feel connected to their community and like that they can grow from the diversity of people.
There is no shortage of spaces for teenagers to discover in Downtown Kitchener. Comic book shops, board game cafes, vintage video game and record stores and boutique clothing stores are abundant in the core. Growing film buffs will be in awe of the Apollo Cinema’s retro movies or current box office fare, (and you’ll be in awe of the local brew you can enjoy in your seat). Young
With dozens of outdoor and indoor activities to entertain kids and parents all year round, Downtown Kitchener is waiting to be explored.
Photography: Shaquille De Peazer
Three long-time friends with one common goal: delivering a sustainable impact in the Kitchener-Waterloo community. Eco Courier is the product of that goal. The zero-emission delivery service was founded by Dave Schumm, a business graduate from Conestoga College, Brian Lawson, a local musician, and Nathan Russell, a former lacrosse player and former publication company owner. Eco Courier delivers pants, fast food and just about everything in between to residents in Kitchener-Waterloo.
we’re actually doing something about it. That was our pledge from the beginning, so we’ve wanted to stay emissions-free the entire time. It started with two bikes, now it’s e-bikes and electric cars.” The co-founders emphasize their love for Kitchener-Waterloo and the business community. As business partners themselves, they understand the importance of establishing trust and friendship among colleagues.
Though Eco Courier boasts a 99 per cent delivery rate and over 500 deliveries monthly, “When you talk about doing business with the environment is their priority above all else. friends, there are definitely problems that arise. But from a personal and social standpoint, Regarding global warming, Brian says, we’re beyond that kind of stuff, which helps “we’re not really engaging in the debate; the company grow, too,” says Brian.
DTK DELIVERED | 31
S DID YOU KNOW: bike deliveries are faster than car
S NEW TO THE TEAM: a 100% emissions-free car
deliveries in the downtown and uptown cores
joins the fleet of Eco Courier delivery vehicles
“Each of us have gravitated towards various “The food and goods app will be amazing roles that we excel at,” says Brian. “Nate is because we’re strictly focusing on restaurants dealing with the promotional and publicity in this area [without] charging them crazy side of things, I’ve gravitated towards the percentages,” says Nathan. logistic side of things like routing and zoning. It was a team that naturally formed. True to their grassroots start, the group’s Like a good band, we have good chemistry.” focus on local isn’t about self-advancement or profit alone; it’s about contributing to the “Dave has a background with the distribution local business economy. side, too. When you combine all that together, it has made things easier. One person can’t be NATHALIE BOUCHARD an expert at everything. Just let your individual talents flourish,” says Nathan. Eco Courier is currently in the testing period of launching their delivery application. Designed by a student from the University of Waterloo, this app will enable the delivery of food and goods services from local establishments.
POPULAR PICK-UP POINTS IN DTK INCLUDE: Bread Heads
San Francisco Panini
#DTKEATS MADE EASY.
Visit ecocourierkw.com/fooddelivery. Select your restaurant. Place your order. Eat!
Four All Ice Cream
Photography: Darin White
“Since I moved here, I’ve cycled through every winter. So that’s 18 years of winter cycling.” Having said that, Jesse Robertson, owner of Black Arrow Cycles, dismisses any macho attitudes around cycling in the worst weather or even every day. “Winter cycling can be very different for different people. It’s about riding when it’s comfortable and safe for you to do so.” Taking the shop into its fourth season, he notes the growth in cycle-servicing needs. The increase in cycling downtown is driving the demand, evident on the morning we chatted.
stock up on accessories. And fairly regularly, customers visit the shop to have their tires properly inflated, a service Black Arrow offers for free. Basic bike maintenance applies in winter, too. While there are a lot of specialized tools, gear, cleaners and accessories to make winter riding and maintenance easier, Jesse says they aren’t critical, and that the associated cost isn’t either. Assuming that your bicycle is already in good working order, he offers suggestions for winter riding:
Customers started to gather in front of the shop even before it was open. Some are Q JESSE ROBERTSON, owner of Black Arrow Cycles, lining up for repairs, others are hoping to located at 50 Queen St S | blackarrowcycles.ca
WINTER RIDING | 33
STEP 1: LUBE YOUR CHAIN
STEP 2: CLEAN YOUR BIKE
STEP 3: TUNE TIRE PRESSURE
Keep your chain and derailleur pivot points lubed. Each chain roller should get at least one drop of lube while you rotate the drive train and shift gears. Remember to wipe off the excess. Generally, wet lubes will do a better job of lubricating in adverse conditions, but can attract dirt and gum up. Dry lubes donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t gum up, but wash out quicker. Everyone you talk to will swear by what works best for them, so find what works for you and use it!
Road salt is hard on bikes. Keep your bike wiped down, paying extra attention to brake surfaces like rims or rotors (use caution: rotors can have very sharp edges!) Use isopropyl alcohol to clean muck/salt/grit from your brake surfaces. You might want to consider protecting your bike finish with a wax or silicone polish. This protects the frame from the elements, making it easier to clean, but keep away from brake surfaces.
Tire pressure is one of the biggest factors in how a bike feels and handles. Different tire combinations and pressures can help you fine tune the ride quality, traction and handling that is right for your riding conditions. In the winter, that can change hour by hour. In general, lower inflation pressures equal better traction. Stay within the listed minimum/maximum printed on your tire, and experiment to find what works best for you.
MORE TIPS: Fenders will keep you drier on wet and snowy streets Winter-specific bikes are available, but certainly not necessary Winter-specific tires, some featuring studs or special treads can aid traction Comfort is best achieved by layering clothing
STEP 4: LIGHT FOR SAFETY There are a lot of lights in your local bike shop to help make you more visible as you ride during the shorter days of winter. Some are rechargeable and others
use replaceable batteries. Most lights offer various modes of steady or flashing light. There are more powerful lights available for riding in unlit areas.
Photography: Dean Landry
A unique perspective on Downtown Kitchener was recently revealed to me by a Masters student from Montreal. We connected via the Perimeter Institute, and I invited him out for lunch after his graduation. We had a solid meal and, of course, as an astute realtor looking to populate my circle of acquaintances with quality folks, I asked him if he thought he could ever see himself returning to live there (Waterloo) in the future. "No, probably not," was his response. "There really isn't much to it...itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s kind of boring." I then asked him if he had some extra time to grab a drink and chat some more (as these Perimeter people are fascinating). We ended up driving Park Street down to Kitchener since King Street North was closed at the
SIMPLY KITCHENER | 35
time, and as we were crossing Victoria and heading into the Park, he asked where we were - to which I replied, simply, "Kitchener". He started asking questions as we drove through the Park, turning down David Street and making our way to the parking lot on the Southwest corner of Halls Lane and Ontario Street. We ended up positioned directly in front of a huge graffiti mural. As soon as we stepped out of the car, he took in the scenery and said, "This is more me.” “I can see myself coming back to live here." As a part of my buyer consultation, I ask prospective clients about their ideal Saturday morning - what does it look like? What would they want to do, see, eat and experience? Their answers always speak
strongly to the lifestyle that they’re looking for. Whether it’s uptown, downtown, Kiwanis park, Chicopee or Cherry Park, this Region has a something for everyone. One thing's for certain: you need to experience Downtown Kitchener for yourself. Nobody else is quite like you, so other peoples’ opinions on the matter shouldn't influence your choices too heavily. Oh, and if you need an excuse to meet up for a coffee? Give me a shout, and I'll meet you at Matter of Taste. Really, downtown itself is just a matter of taste on your own unique palette.
PLACES YOU MIGHT BUMP INTO DARRYL AROUND DTK: Abe and Erb at The Tannery 151 Charles St W | @abe_erb
B@THEMUSEUM 10 King St W | @B_DTK
Rainbow Carribean Cuisine 29 King St E | @rainbowcuisine.ca
Grand Trunk Saloon 30 Ontario St S | @kwgrandtrunk
Matter of Taste!
115 King St W | @matteroftastekw
EMMA TARSWELL getting ready for her wedding day in a Walper Hotel guest suite | @thewalperhotel Photography: Jeff Shuh + Jens Langen
HISTORICAL FEEL MODERN SMASH | 37
“Our opportunity was obvious, we have something very special here,” says Domini Baldasaro, General Manager of The Walper Hotel. “We have a space that is historically known in people’s memories, but we also have a role in helping represent Kitchener to the outside world.” The responsibility and seriousness The us too. I’m vegetarian, so I knew I wanted Walper takes in this role is obvious. The apps that everyone was going to love.” renovations, or more honestly put, the overhaul which was completed in 2017, “Originally, the second floor was not part of focused on making this hotel the best the renovation. We were only planning on possible boutique hotel in the region. doing the guest rooms on the third, fourth and fifth floors. But, as we started to see “When we came into town to look the designs coming together we knew we around, Lokal was absolutely stunning,” needed to do everything,” says Domini. says Emma Tarswell of the secondfloor space at The Walper where she “One of the most important aspects of what and her husband Daniel Kamminga our team has done is to be verythoughtful recently hosted their wedding. about every item that is part of the hotel. We were very clear about the hotel wanting “We had a seven-piece band in the to represent the maker and creative cultures Crystal Ballroom and we just wanted a total party. Having S A VIEW OF LOKAL, the second floor bar, which great food was important to opens to guests and the public Monday-Friday at 5pm
ALS0 LOCATED WITHIN THE WALPER HOTEL BLOCK: Living Fresh Flower Studio @living_fresh | livingfresh.ca
goodvibes juice co.
goodvibesjuice.com | @goodvibesjuicecompany
Walper Barber Shop
519-745-6481 | walperbarbershop.com
519-745-9984 | walpertobacco.com
twhsocial.com | @twh_social
coffeeculturecafe.com | @coffeeculturecafe
of Downtown Kitchener and chose pieces that represented that,” she says. “Our furniture, lighting and feature accessories around the hotel are all hand-selected and very intentional.” There’s a relentless focus on experience from all the people working at The Walper Hotel. From their pride in their unique coffee program (we hear that everyone in the hospitality industry is coffee-obsessed), to their use of Zingle, a texting app for guests to communicate with staff before, during and after their stay, the energy and dedication to service is noticeable. “One of the things that is really important to us is that we built this for our guests, but it is always open to the public and we welcome the community to come in and share in this space,” Domini says of the Lokal room. Domini, known to most as Dom, knew she
wanted to work in hotels from a very young age. Her early years were filled with trips to the Kitchener Market and stopping at the bank at King and Queen, eyeing up the old building across the street. After so many years of imagining her career in The Walper, her first shift as a front desk staffer left her in tears. “It was just in such disarray. There were holes in the carpet, in the walls. Motel sheets on the beds and there weren’t enough TVs for the guest rooms. But the guests, there was something special about the guests. They were, and still are, discerning.” Transitioning into different roles over her past eight years at The Walper has given Dom a front row seat to change in the hotel, and in Downtown Kitchener. Along with the conventional tourists you’d expect, The Walper Hotel has recently hosted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, former Governor General David Johnson, and a number of oft-returning tech company staff members. These out-of-town employees usually arrive on a Sunday and stay throughout the week, heading back to their hometowns on Thursday or Friday. Frequent visitors gain access to The Walper’s personalized trunk program, which allows guests to store some of their commonly used items at the hotel, from toiletries to gym clothes to laptop chargers. According to Dom it’s touches like the trunk program that make The Walper something special. This sentiment rings true with Tarswell and Kamminga, the aforementioned newlywed couple. “The bar even developed a signature drink for our wedding, people loved that. Everything just went great, the space is absolutely beautiful and we loved getting photos in the outdoor spaces.” A world-class boutique hotel feels like the mark of a great city. Kitchener has got that box checked. @DTKITCHENER Congratulations and a special thanks to Emma Tarswell and Daniel Kamminga for allowing us a behind-the scenes look at their October 21, 2017 wedding!
CHELSEA & NEIL AT HOME in the Schneider Creek Neighbourhood Photography: Brian Limoyo
COMING HOME | 41
It’s not uncommon to hear people share the details of how they’ve ended up in Kitchener, or to be more specific, how they ended up back in Kitchener. Chelsea Cybalski and Neil Huber have a great story. Originally from Waterloo Region, the two lived and worked in Toronto for many years having never met each other until a mutual friend's wedding in the Caribbean.
Toronto but looks to bring future productions to Kitchener. “I’ve fallen deeply in love with this city,“ Neil says. “From its diverse food and entertainment to the beauty of its parks and architecture, there’s a lot of Kitchener to experience.”
Two years, two homes and two Great Danes later, they were eager to move back to the region to be close to family, For Chelsea, as a small business owner, and so Chelsea could be within the the sense of community that encapsulates neighbourhood of her soon-to-open downtown is inspiring and refreshing. wellness shop. While searching for homes, they were instantly enamored with the “I love the social atmosphere that exists character of Downtown. Downtown. I’ve recognized this through my regular customers who have built “It was the distinct vibrancy and culture friendships from simply frequenting the of Downtown that truly captured us,” store,” she says. “That sense of gathering Chelsea explains. is incredible, as these spaces extend beyond a place of commerce to that of a With the positive growth and place for building community.” development of Kitchener, both Chelsea and her business partner, “People here know how awesome it is,” Andrew Sukhiani, knew it was the says Chelsea. “I’m looking forward to perfect location for their store, more people recognizing it.” The Golden Mean Wellness Shoppe. Neil, a film director @DTKITCHENER and co-founder of Without a Flock Films & Distribution, Visit Chelsea at The Golden Mean Wellness Shoppe commutes to Downtown 150 King St W | @_thegoldenmean_
Photography: Nicole Beno
CLOSET CLEANSE | 43
Small closets are everywhere downtown, from old century homes to brand new condos. Style coach Laura Hart shares how to revise your wardrobe to fit your closet and, most importantly, your #DTKSTYLE. Do you have a closet full of clothes but still feel like you have nothing to wear? Or maybe you have clothes you haven’t worn in a long time? It may be time to think about editing your closet. No matter who you are – male, female, old, or young – the advice is the same. A good closet edit is the key to success when getting dressed everyday, and it’s certainly something you can complete on your own: Tip #1: Empty
One of the things I hear my clients say most during closet edit sessions is that they’ve found things they didn’t even know they had or pieces they had been looking for. The first tip is to take all of your clothes out of your closet/drawers and lay them out so you can see them clearly. It can feel overwhelming; breathe new life into things you forgot you had, or remember why these pieces have been lost for so long. Tip #2: Separate
Separate your clothes into four piles: a “keep” pile for pieces that you love and wear, a “not sure” pile for the pieces you haven’t worn in a while, but you’re not ready to let go of yet, a “donate” pile for the
things you know you don’t want, but are still good quality; and the “throw out” pile for the pieces no one should ever wear again. Tip #3: Try On
Try on each piece from the “not sure” pile and think about how it fits you and how it fits in with the rest of the pieces in your “keep” pile. Outfitting is an important consideration when editing, so be honest with yourself. Don’t be afraid to let go of that graphic tee you bought in university – just because it fits, doesn’t mean it deserves to stay in your closet. Tip #4: Be Real
We all have those articles of clothing that we loved at one point, but have slowly stopped wearing over time. Often, we’ve formed emotional ties that we’re probably not even aware of, which makes it really difficult to part ways. You should never force yourself to get rid of something you really love, even if you aren’t wearing it anymore: that’s what storage is for. However, knowing when to let go can be very freeing, so keep in mind the six month rule. Keep all of the things you
are unsure of that still fit and feel good for another six months (or two seasons of dressing). During your next closet edit (you should be aiming to do this twice per year), if you haven’t worn those items, it’s time to donate. Tip #5: What’s Missing?
Once all clothes have been sorted, try to look for holes in your wardrobe. Look at what you have kept, put outfits together that fit the needs of your day-to-day life, and think about what classic pieces may be missing. These pieces will become your "to buy" list, keeping future shopping trips focussed because you’ll know exactly what you’re looking for. Editing your own closet is not an easy task. If it were, everyone would do it religiously, there would be no need for this article, and I wouldn’t have any customers. I get it. It can feel overwhelming and stressful, especially when you don’t know where to start. I’ve just provided you with the tools to get started. Now what're you waiting for? LAURA HART
During recent public consultations on the future of Downtown Kitchener (Shape DTK 2020 strategy) the community told us loud and clear that they want their downtown to be a truly open, diverse, welcoming place. A place where everyone feels that they belong. A place where we take care of each other. With this as one of our defining principles, we want to initiate a series of conversations to ask ourselves a core question - how do we, as a DTK community, truly become caring and inclusive? As a starting point, we wanted to understand the experiences of people of colour in Downtown Kitchener especially considering DTK has historically been planned and programmed predominantly by white (often male) community leaders. So we hosted an intimate lunch with these five activators in our community. For Zainab, Downtown Kitchener is familiar and full of fond memories from her time at Cameron Heights. Janice has been rooted in DTK since she first began performing
here and sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s devoted the last 10 years of her life to building up the local art scene. Amy has had a different experience â&#x20AC;&#x201C; her past includes accessing the social services that the core offers and remembers a time that Downtown Kitchener was quite literally her home. Robin and Laura Mae are recent arrivals to Kitchener and were drawn here for work and studies at both of our Regionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Universities. Despite different backgrounds and life experiences, they hold something in common. They are people of colour in a predominantly white community. As we went around the table, many different issues (large and small) are shared. For Zainab and Laura Mae, they know first
hand that new thinking can start with a new generation of leaders. More support for young people who are in the process of finding their voice, particularly those who represent visible minorities, is paramount. People need opportunities to experiment, gather and share, and to take on leadership roles. As Laura Mae puts it, "Downtown can be a place where the art can start." Amy and Robin highlighted the need for welcoming public spaces and programming. The ideal: spaces where residents can meet, friendships can form, and a welcoming sense of neighbourhood can be cultivated. In many cultures, these spaces are the breeding ground of a strong
A SENSE OF BELONGING | 45
Mohawk Nation, Turtle Clan, from the Six Nations of the Grand River & recent UW graduate
JANICE JO LEE
Korean-Canadian, musician, poet and theatre artist
DR. LAURA MAE LINDO
Director of Diversity and Equity at WLU
DOES THIS RESONATE WITH YOU? WANT TO BE PART OF THE DIALOGUE OR TELL US WHAT YOU’RE WORKING ON? WE’D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU. CONTACT HILARY AT HILARY.ABEL@KITCHENER.CA ROBIN MAZUMDER
community. As Zainab pointed out, while she loves DTK, there is less to do for some of her family members.
a spirit of “ALL ARE WELCOME” would be a simple place to start. Whether it’s a cultural event, niche event or LGBTQ event we need to encourage residents to engage in festivals they might not normally attend. As Janice points out, as individuals we must move beyond attending vigils to show that we genuinely support each other.
Cognitive neuroscience PhD student at UW
While DTK has been experimenting with activating laneways and parkettes throughout the week, the group believes these free, inclusive spaces need to be welcoming in the evenings and weekends. We need to foster a culture where students, families and residents from all over the city, regardless of their background, feel that they have a place where they can be engaged. The group also agrees we all need to do better at supporting the arts. Not for the sake of entertainment, but because art, music, poetry and theatre are incredibly powerful tools to breaking down invisible barriers and nurturing a sense of collective belonging. Spreading the word of everything going on in Downtown Kitchener, through
Health Studies student at UW & spoken word poet
Commonalities emerged at the table, too. Everyone expressed praise for the KPL and KWAG. These two institutions are leading the way with relevant, diverse and inclusive programming. Artists and thought-leaders of many different backgrounds, interests and ages are being featured in their 2017-2018 seasons. As community leaders, we must continue asking tough questions and listen wholeheartedly to the answers. We need to make more connections within the community so
that all voices and viewpoints are heard. But more importantly, if we want meaningful, lasting change, we need to commit to cultivating leaders of all backgrounds. Clearly, we all have much work to do. But let us remind everyone of one thing… The power of Downtown Kitchener is its people. It’s made up of all of us. A welcoming, caring, open DTK is everyone's responsibility. Let’s keep having the difficult conversations, and asking tough questions. Let’s not stop until we’ve created a place we all want to belong to.
Many thanks to Amy, Janice, Laura Mae, Robin and Zainab for taking the time to share their experiences and ideas with us.
We're lucky to have received so many submissions for this year's magazine. We were immediately taken with Renee's openess and heartfel writing. DTK, meet Renee. Would you feel more comfortable in a male or female body?
I think I’d feel equally at ease in either a male or female body. I feel my personality, and what makes me “me” is not dictated by the anatomical sex of my body. Obviously being in a female body I have opportunity to bear a child for example, which, of course changes things. But at the heart and core of it, I feel I am “me” based on things that go beyond whether I am in a male or female body. At what point did you begin to realize you were gender fluid?
When I was growing up, there were no influences in my life and no language offering the freedom to be neither boy nor girl or to identify as both. I was happy growing up as a “tom boy” in a woman’s body, and remember from a very young age getting excited when someone thought I was a boy. I was comfortable with the masculine and feminine expressions and didn’t hold back from dressing or expressing myself in whatever way I felt that day or in different phases. How do you think gender fluidity is (re)shaping our communities?
HAVING LIVED IN MANY COMMUNITIES, I can honestly say that Downtown Kitchener’s vision unites people to work towards positive change, and to build a city for future generations. Photography: Renee Surovec Lochner
I think it is important to have conversation about gender. More information and access to different belief systems allows for freedom to express who we really are without limiting ourselves based on what we think we need to be. I feel there are many people who fit in better being both male and female or neither male nor female, and it’s great to begin accepting that as a larger community. RENEE SUROVEC LOCHNER
A PART OF ME | 47
A LOOK INSIDE Renee's personal journal
Photography: Hannah Yoon
“You can have a pretty kickass night in two square blocks downtown,” shared Craig Bongelli. For the last six months, Craig Bongelli and Daniel Bokule have spent their time exploring Downtown Kitchener. Their adventures in food, film and mentorship are the result of a successful pairing through Big Brothers Big Sisters Waterloo Region. “The Big Brother mentoring program matches children and youth with an adult mentor to hangout, connect and talk with throughout the year,” says Mallory Boyer, Resource Development Manager with BBBSWR. “The goal is for children and youth to become empowered to live their potential.” Craig, the big brother of the duo, and Daniel, the little brother, find more than
conversation through the program – they’re exploring their city, and learning more about themselves along the way. Favourite experiences so far are found in Kitchener’s food scene. Daniel especially enjoys trying new cuisines; Guanaquita, Mi Tienda Latina and J&P Grocery top the list.
in Waterloo Region who builds social skills and gains greater self-confidence through Big Brothers Big Sisters. And according to Mallory, program participants are 50 per cent more likely to give back to the community at the core of their mentorship. ELIZABETH DICESARE
Next up: a movie at the Apollo Cinema. “I like how old-fashioned it is,” Daniel says. “The theatre itself is really nice and classic. I would come downtown with my family to go there.” Daniel is one of many children and youth
Big Brothers Big Sisters of WR is currently in need of men interested in joining the Big Brothers program. To find out more about volunteering with this incredible organization, visit BBBSWR.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
MATCHED FOR SUCCESS | 49
Food Photography: Matt Smith | @MattSKW
THE FUTURE IS FEMALE | 51
For proof that The Future is Female, you need go no further than DTK. From the arts to entrepreneurship, local women aren’t accepting male dominance in any sphere, and they are bringing inspiration, assistance, and jobs to the community. Like last year, when we featured female changemakers, we could have easily overflowed this edition with similar stories. This time around, we’ll be introducing you to (or at least helping you learn more about) some of the women-led organizations that are teaching, helping, and growing our culture downtown. Non-profit organizations are often unsung hero(in)es in the community, which is reason enough to showcase them. But these local organizations are also more broadly integrated, working with populations from tech companies to local government, and improving quality of life for everyone along the way.
Photograph provided by LOL
LOL (Ladies and LGBTQ+) Out Loud
facebook.com/LOLKitchWat | Erinn White, Co-founder
Feminists aren’t funny? Please. Fortunately for Kitchener-Waterloo, Ladies and LGBTQ+ Out Loud (LOL) founders Suzie Taka and Erinn White create comedy shows that showcase just how funny.
daytime hustle and bustle, with plenty of street traffic heading to the farmers’ market and other shops. She was driven to do something similar after dark.
to feel safe and welcome. To them, comedy can be a catalyst of social change and community building.
They have put blanket rules in place regarding “ Creating this event here has helped me to off-limits set topics like sexual violence, and In the last year LOL has built a great feel like I’m helping to build the downtown they do their best to vet comics to prevent reputation for smart, inclusive, and nightlife we’ve all been waiting for.” sexist, racist, or classist material. They admit hilarious comedy shows. They’ve put LOL is always a work in progress. together solid lineups with queer and/ LOL still operates at a grassroots level with or woman-identified favourites and no full-time staff or marketing budget, but “Comedy is often about pushing boundaries new voices. While LOL has taken Erinn and Suzie have hopes that LOL will and people get off the mark. It’s been hard on summer festivals and large- become known in the region as a showcase to be explicitly feminist and queer friendly in a world full of homophobia, racism, scale events, their current home is for great comedy. misogyny,” Suzie says. “I’m sure it alienates downtown at Open Sesame. The space for that comedy has been given some, but more importantly it creates a As a resident of the core, as much consideration as the jokes; LOL space for important voices to be seen and Erinn regularly sees vibrant wants all performers and audience attendees heard so that’s worth any fear I have.”
Photograph provided by LOL
Hive Waterloo Region
Vibrant art scenes require passionate artists, interested audiences, and a place to happen. Enter ArtsBuild Ontario, the province’s only organization that helps guide building, management, education, and financing for arts spaces like theatres, galleries and museums.
The Hive team wants tech workers to be skilled, creative, and diverse. Tapping into our area’s strong tech and maker cultures, they work with organizations to promote inclusion and teach skills for the 21st century, focusing on working with women and children.
Neruda Arts is dedicated to building bridges in the community through music, dance, drama, and literary and visual arts. Their mandate is to support emerging and new Canadian artists and artists from visible minorities, whose work is underrepresented in local cultural institutions. They've coordinated many of DTK's most beloved murals and are the creators of Kultrun World Music Festival.
It’s right in the name: SHORE stands for Sexual Health Options, Resources and Education. Formerly Planned Parenthood, they welcome everyone and provide help with everything from accurate, inclusive sexual health information to pregnancy counselling.
Pat the Dog Theatre Creation (Women's Room)
SASC provides counselling and 24-hour support to people and their families who have experienced sexual violence. They provide public education with a feminist, intersectional approach. Their team advocates for and assists those navigating legal, law enforcement, and medical processes. They provide expertise to initiatives focused on responding to sexual assault and human trafficking. Their overall mission is to transform systems that promote gender-based violence.
artsbuildontario.ca | Lindsay Golds, ED
nerudaarts.ca | Isabel Cisterna, Artistic Director
patthedog.org/the-womens-room-2018 | Lisa O'Connell, Artistic Director
A Sonderlust/Pat the Dog partnership, the Women’s Room provides resources for female-identified playwrights to develop their work. Making the region a better place for women to live and work includes creating opportunities for artists to use their voices.
hivewr.ca | Stephanie Rozek, ED
Sanguen Community Health Van
sanguen.com/outreach-program/mobile-vanoutreach | Violet Umanetz, Manager of Outreach
Those most in need often have barriers to accessing services. “The Van” comes to them. A regular feature downtown since 2015, Sanguen provides food, clothing, hygiene products, counselling, medical services, supplies, and overdose prevention kits and training.
shorecentre.ca | Lyndsey Butcher, ED
Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region (SASC) sascwr.org | Sara Casselman, ED
MORE WOMEN-DRIVEN GROUPS DOING FANTASTIC LOCAL WORK: Feminine Harbour feminineharbor.com
Lean In K-W
KW Multicultural Centre kwmc.on.ca
NextGen Waterloo Region
KW Poetry Slam
Women's March Canada
Stay tuned for 2018 conference details: womensmarchcanada.com/
artspay.org | Cathy Farwell, Founder
“I do it because I can, and because I have hope,” says Cathy Farwell, visual artist and the driving force behind Art$Pay, a non-profit that educates artists and citizens alike on the value of creative work. The new not-for-profit project aims to promote the local visual arts sector, focusing on employment, marketing, education, professional development and public awareness. The Art$Pay website acts as a twofold tool: the community can find local art; artists can build their career. “For the first time in our area there’s a place to post a job, find a job and other income-generating opportunities for this sector,” says Cathy. “Artists can find information about fair fees and art prices, planning guides, models and everything needed to do business together more successfully.” Cathy’s unique solution for Kitchener’s growing arts community was born from her own background. As a visual artist and long-time community engager, she saw the gap that Art$Pay needed to fill. “Time and time again, reference is made to the importance of developing a vibrant community to attract and retain talent,” she says. “There are so many talented artists living here […] but many have left for greener pastures because they can’t make a decent living in the arts in this region.” Enter Art$Pay, bolstered by Cathy’s passion to boot. “I think that if I can help make life better here for talented artists, my community will be a better place to live. I really believe that, and see this initiative as being mutually beneficial.” But reaching that goal requires support beyond Art$Pay. The way Cathy sees it, if municipal and private forces get on board, the benefits of a successful arts community are exponential. “Original art matters, makes a difference in a city, and not everyone gets that. A vibrant arts and culture scene provides a dynamic creative context which fosters similar thinking in other sectors.” Art$Pay write-up contributed by MakeItKitchener.ca
Nick Lee | @bestoftorontonet
TECH RESETS ITS COMPASS | 55
True North, Communitech’s groundbreaking technology conference, will bring some 2,000 attendees from around the world to Waterloo Region. True North Waterloo (May 29-31, 2018) is a global-in-scale event that aims to reaffirm tech as a force for good, and to place Waterloo Region on the map like never before.
on addressing current issues like “fake news,” gender and racial imbalance and the impact of artificial intelligence, and resetting the tech sector’s compass to true north, hence the conference name.
“It’s a showcase,” says Kristen Gillett, the Director of Events at Communitech.
Outside of conference proceedings at Lot 42, True North attendees will take part in myriad activities designed in the region.
“It’s about tech, and it’s also about the region and all the amazing things that are happening in the region on the cultural side, on the talent side, on the development side. Really, it’s about showcasing who we are as a community.” True North is an amalgamation of previous Communitech events, such as the Tech Leadership Conference and Techtoberfest. “We’re putting everything together to make it more internationally focused,” says Gillett. “We want people to know that once a year, this is the place to be.” The True North event’s main venue will be Lot 42, the giant, newly renovated conference space at 41 Ardelt Place in south Kitchener. The events will focus
Gillett says the area’s hotels, restaurants, museums, galleries, universities and colleges will all take part. Picture outdoor concerts, art and cultural events, flags flying in the downtown, and True North-branded restaurants and hotels.
Nick Lee | @bestoftorontonet
“We’re incorporating tech and the arts,” says Leena Birtch, Communitech’s Senior Project Manager. For tech companies and other businesses in the Kitchener core, True North will be an opportunity to engage with visitors from around the world and to show off their progressive, vibrant community. CRAIG DANIELS
Nick Lee | @bestoftorontonet
Photography: Susan Coolen
Walk, see, sit, think, percolate, plan, sing and dance in downtown spaces. Fall is the season for a burst of vibrant colour, a breath of fresh, crisp air and a mellow kind of sunlight. It can be a lovely time for an outdoor lunch or an afternoon break in sweet, little, urban zones downtown. Alone or with friends or co-workers, being outdoors can be a great way to infuse a day with a new kind of energy. Of course, a delicious picnic-style lunch in one of DTK’s sitting spaces is a nice start. Pack a lunch or grab something delicious downtown. Next, try seeing the downtown through an artist’s eyes. Take a sketchbook along and just respond to the surroundings. Simple drawings done in the moment, or notes jotted down in a journal can be little gifts of peace or insight
to one’s self. Victoria Park is a beautiful place Time outdoors is an opportunity to sit and see, near the public art works or at for a natural hit of vitamin D. the clock tower. The large park boasts plenty of nooks; a get-together in the park with As you find that just-right like-minded friends could amplify an output sunshiny space to sit in, wear of those artistic urges. Visit the unexpected your favourite scarf and bring oasis of garden spaces, seating areas and a along a comfy pillow to sit on. public art enclosure in the Duke Street area behind City Hall. Consider writing, singing, meditating, or simply taking a deep breath of the urban landscape. Revel in newfound pleasures of downtown spaces. And who knows, maybe winter will also inspire visits S VICTORIA PARK clock tower to spaces covered in a freshly fallen coat of W TOP RIGHT: PARKETTE and public art space found on Duke St behind City Hall. Other parkettes in DTK snow – a blank canvas in the core. SUSAN COOLEN
include: Duke & Ontario; Vogelsang Green on Duke & Queen; Market Green on Duke & Scott; Francis Green on Francis & King
ARTSEE URBAN | 57
Queen Street, between Charles to Duke, is in need of a makeover. The corridor and its laneways will become S UNIQUE LIGHTING will make the space more an important pedestrian thoroughfare when inviting, while moveable furniture allows visitors to customize these laneways to suit their needs. These ION starts running, and future developments spaces can be useful for a coffee date, a team are exploring ways to bring more retail and meeting or eating some takeout. restaurants to this streetscape. Q VOGELSANG GREEN re-imagined as an open-air ampitheatre for public performances.
Check out these possible placemaking T CONSIDERATIONS FOR PEDESTRIANS AND initiatives that could totally reimagine the CYCLISTS means wider sidewalks, plus bike amenities like secure racks and a fix-it station. way people use this space!
CONTRIBUTORS | 59
Want to get involved in the next edition? Email Breanna:
@bethawk + @DTKitchener
@bredowntown + @DTKitchener
@angrycelery + @DTKitchener
On behalf of the businesses of DTK, we would like to send out a monumental thank you to all those who continue to support this inspiring publication. Contributors from all over our community have created another heartfelt magazine that continues to strengthen a bond that makes Downtown Kitchener one of a kind. The countless hours and endless dedication from the Own It team has materialized this vision. We are grateful to have such a creative, driven, positive team and an extraordinary group of community members. You came together and proved that this is an authentic, caring and collaborative community! Congratulations on the third awesome edition! Linda Jutzi, Executive Director Downtown Kitchener BIA
CRAIG DANIELS WRITER
WRITER & PHOTOGRAPHER
@chris_tiessen + @toqueltd
@hanloveyoon | hannahyoon.com
@jeffshuh | jeffshuh.com