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Issue No. 1 TORONTO


Editor’s Letter To begin can feel like leaping into the unknown with your eyes closed. Sometimes, it isn’t until you’ve landed that you can finally see the fruits of your labour and enjoy the view. Here & There Magazine was born out of a desire to take flight, travel the world and tell stories of designers and artists from near and far. We believe that cities are a reflection of their creative inhabitants, the pioneers who take risks to build something meaningful. Every story has to start somewhere, so why not here, in Toronto? My hometown, and Aleyah’s current city by way of Halifax and Montreal, is an ever-evolving cultural hub and magnet for Canadian and international talent. When we decided to partner together to launch our own quarterly publication, we knew exactly where to focus our first issue. From acclaimed Canadian fashion designer Sid Neigum to abstract sculpture artist Derrick Piens, we’re proud to feature some of the best and brightest innovators in the city. As you read through the issue, you’ll notice common themes including ecological inspirations, a love of pugs and the momentum pushing Canadians to embrace local talent. For many, including fashion designer Hilary MacMillan and textile artist Mary Grisey, taking the plunge to launch a Toronto-based business has been full of rewards and challenges. As we embark on our own journey to publish issues in cities around the world, we’re inspired to tell local stories on a global scale. We’ve leapt, landed and opened our eyes. And so, it begins. Julia Eskins Co-Founder & Editor

Aleyah Solomon Co-Founder & Creative Director/Photographer


Issue No. 1 Art

Mary Grisey: Weaving Warrior

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Derrick Piens: Nature in Abstract 10

Fashion Sid Neigum: Dressed in Black 18 Hilary MacMillan: Refining Wearable 26

Design

Gladstone Hotel: Sleeping in a Work of Art

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The Ivy at Verity: Urban Retreat

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City Toronto Scenes 46

Contributors

Kelly Alves

Susan Eskins

Charise Bauman

Kevin McVitor

Jessica Berswick

Patty Tsonis

Cover: Zoe wearing Sid Neigum


ART

Mary Grisey: Weaving Warrior Words by Julia Eskins Photos by Aleyah Solomon


A rescued one-eyed pug is the newest member of what Mary Grisey calls her “spirit club.” It was love at first sight, just like the instant connection the Toronto-based artist had with the dark goddesses and Greek ruins that inspired her previous jewelry collections. Her power gem? Tourmaline. Favourite fibres? Raw silk and linen—the latter holding a special place in her heart for its association with the ancient Egyptian mummification process. Plus, it has “a really strong vibrational energy.” Five minutes into my conversation with the California native, I realize the historical and otherworldly inspirations behind her work are as intricately intertwined as her weavings. That, and she’s super cool – I kind of want to be in her spirit club too. META, Grisey’s jewelry and textile line, blends her fine arts background with ancient weaving, natural dying and clay building techniques. Her pieces look like they could be artifacts from an excavation site, having what Grisey describes as a “ruinous quality.” “Sometimes, I call these my ladies,” she says as she looks up at the handwoven tapestries hanging behind us, three pieces

from her Masters of Fine Arts thesis exhibition at York University. “Archaeology and mythology are big inspirations for me. I’m in love with placing stories and narratives with my work. Not only does it draw me into the whimsy of making it, but it also brings in the viewer.” Grisey locally sources all of her natural materials from Canada, right down to the terracotta and glazes for the ceramics. Her pieces are often hand-dyed to create rich hues like coral and cerulean, a nod to her early days of painting on canvas in Upstate New York. “I wanted to work bigger and beyond a rectangle,” says Grisey, who learned how to weave at the Art Institute of Chicago. “Weaving is not just putting threads on a loom. There’s actually a lot of math that goes into it. Before you go abstract, you should know the foundations. For my art, I take traditional methods and bend the rules.” Grisey started making jewelry for friends in 2009 but it wasn’t until she moved to Toronto to be with her fiancée in 2012 that she began to weave installations and collections for META.

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Photography: Aleyah Solomon Styling: Amalia Bentivoglio Hair: Jessica Berswick Make Up: Kevin McVitor Model: Sid (Spot 6 Management)


“I really think jewelry holds power. You could almost say there’s a spirit attached to it.”


“I got really into affect theory in the last part of my grad school experience. It’s basically the theory of emotions. When you experience the work, you feel an emotion. You can’t really put your finger on it but it moves you,” she says. “I really think jewelry holds power. You could almost say there’s a spirit attached to it.” Evidently, those dark goddess vibes have seeped into Grisey’s studio. With bottles of cochineal dye and horsehair installations hanging from the walls, it feels like a witchy woman’s apothecary. To add to that, she does tarot card readings at some of the boutiques carrying her jewelry including Likely General on Roncesvalles and Penny Arcade on Dundas West. It’s no wonder she identified with occultist Marjorie Cameron on a recent trip back home to Los Angeles. “I saw this exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art that had all of Marjorie’s paintings, drawings, sketchbooks and diaries. I absolutely fell in love with her world and how tragic it was. She put her whole life into this passion of the occult and working with Aleister Crowley,” says Grisey. “I felt like I was really drawn to her. Maybe I knew her in a past life. There’s a really strong power about her work so I wanted to make a collection that had her essence.” The fall/winter 2015 collection, The Star, The Night, The Garden, pulls from Cameron’s time spent living in New Mexico and the desert in California. The designs, especially the handwoven Cameron necklaces, are reminiscent of Southwestern motifs and the landscape of the region. Grisey’s own time spent growing up in California is apparent. Unlike many Torontonians, she’s pleasantly unguarded about her passion for artistic progression.

Despite the striking quality of her work, she admits her experience working as an artist in Toronto has had its challenges. “What’s frustrating is that being a woman weaver in the art world has a strong association with ‘craft.’ I don’t associate my work with craft and I feel like Toronto really hasn’t had that discussion yet,” she says. “But what I really love about Toronto, and what overrides that situation, is the community here and how supportive all the other makers and artists are.” It was through the Toronto arts community that Grisey met designer Mic. Carter, which led to a collaboration for |FAT| Arts & Fashion Week. “It was really cool to see how his designs and my designs melded together. We didn’t really do a lot of planning and I think that’s where the magic was. I showed one of my rope weavings and put it over the model. It was very spontaneous and a total risk but it worked out,” says Grisey. Her next collection will feature her foray into metalsmithing. With metal earrings, rings and necklaces intertwined with hand-dyed fiber fringe, the collection will be vastly different from her previous work. “I’m really excited about it. Metal has this ancient, traditional quality. It’s indestructible so they can be heirloom pieces.” Leave it to a fine artist to create enduring jewelry that stands the test of time. Whether the pieces carry a spirit, a story or something you can’t quite put your finger on, Marjorie Cameron would undoubtedly approve. ■

All pieces by META Jewelry available at metajewelryandtextiles.com

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ART

Derrick Piens: Nature in Abstract Words by Julia Eskins Photos by Aleyah Solomon


If you look at Derrick Piens’ sculptures long enough, you might see a face looking back at you. The Torontobased artist takes a definitively abstract approach to his work by creating unidentifiable objects that are open to viewer interpretation. With a focus on colour, structure and form, experiencing Piens’ work is like recognizing human-like shapes in the clouds, trees and coral reefs; sparking the inevitable question of “What do you see?” Often inspired by nature, Piens seems to operate on impulse, using his artistic sixth sense to conceptualize his plaster, plywood and steel sculptures as he goes. One day, he spotted some bubble wrap and thought it would be a good idea to pour plaster on it. The result was a futuristic inverted texture reminiscent of a geological formation. Originally from Chatham, Ont., he has participated in solo and group exhibitions in Canada, United States and Europe including The Ruin in the Refuge is the Hole at Galleria 5 in Oulu, Finland, Dig Deep Bliss Darkness at General Hardware Contemporary in Toronto, When Things Collide at the University of Waterloo Art Gallery, Sentinels at Dallas Contemporary and New Perspectives at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art. Piens is now preparing for a fall exhibition at LVL 3 Gallery in Chicago, which will run from Sept. 26 – Nov. 1. We caught up with him in his Toronto studio to talk about his process as an abstract artist. ▶▶▶

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“I’m really interested in the energy and life that colour can convey.”


Julia Eskins: What is your earliest memory of making art? Derrick Piens: As a kid I used to paint a lot with my mom while Bob Ross was on the television. I went into painting at Fanshawe College but moved into sculpture at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD). It was there I met one of my professors, John Greer, who was instrumental to my development as an artist. Painting was kind of missing something for me, as in that it was more of a cerebral activity. Sculpture is something that you share space with on a bodily, physical level. JE: How has your sculpture style evolved through the years? DP: I used to work very figuratively, referencing my own body mostly. My first sculptures were working with twigs to create body forms. At NSCAD, I learned how to weld. I went on to do my master’s in Dallas, Texas and that’s where I wanted to get rid of all the figurative aspects of my work and deal with abstraction. I became interested in how materials and objects transform over time, how things get broken down and built back up. I see that as a metaphor for how people change throughout their lives. JE: Your use of colour is particularly striking. How does this play into the theme of your work? DP: I’m really interested in the energy and life that colour can convey. In the past people have commented on the colours being very unnatural but I don’t agree with that at all. If you look at insects, frogs, minerals and gems, bright colours are found in nature and are used as a way to communicate. JE: Which visual artists are you currently interested in? DP: I really like Franz West. My partner Jaime Angelopoulos is also a constant wealth of inspiration – we’re always pushing each other. Other Canadian sculpture artists that I like include David Altmejd, Valérie Blassand and Geoffrey Farmer. JE: How long does it take you to complete a piece? DP: Years! I dabble a lot. If something’s bothering me, I go wherever my heart is to make the next move. JE: The scale of your work varies. How does size impact the emotion you want your work to evoke? DP: Lately I’ve been working at a torso scale and doing wall work but I don’t stick to one scale. Looking at the broad spectrum of what happens in our world, I’m really interested in playing off the micro and macro. Small things have the potential to hold as much information as something that’s 11 feet tall. ■

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FASHION

Sid Neigum: Dressed in Black Words by Julia Eskins Photos by Aleyah Solomon


It isn’t uncommon for offices to be cluttered with paper, but Sid Neigum’s is swimming in a sea of origami. When the Toronto-based fashion designer was seeking inspiration for his spring/summer 2016 collection, he turned to his love of geometry and began folding paper. The blueprints have since come to life in the form of fabric, resulting in a cohesive collection that pulls from his science background and affinity for black, minimalistic pieces. Neigum greets us at the Toronto Fashion Incubator in his typical uniform (black pants and a black T-shirt which he later admits he owns 15 versions of). It’s clear that he’s been busy with the final touches. On a table lies a sheet of fabric laser cut into shapes that will be folded to create his modular vision.

in 2014, which funded his fall/winter 2015 collection shown at World MasterCard Fashion Week. Since launching his eponymous label, Neigum has won the hearts of buyers and critics for his impeccably finished, architectural designs. Perhaps what’s most impressive is his ability to sell some of his most unconventional garments in two major Canadian retailers: The Room at Hudson’s Bay and Toronto boutique Jonathan+Olivia. We met up with the designer days before the completion of his spring/summer 2016 collection to talk about his alluring journey from wunderkind to Canadian fashion mogul. Julia Eskins: Your previous collections were inspired by stem cells. Will we see those scientific influences again for spring/summer 2016?

Just like patterns becoming wearable works of art, Neigum’s own career has taken an exciting shape in recent years. The Alberta-born designer studied at New Sid Neigum: Definitely. I was interested in geometry York’s Fashion Institute of Technology and relocated before fashion so it always creeps into what I’m to Toronto in 2012 after winning the Toronto Fashion making. We’re doing a lot of modular, origami stuff. I Incubator’s New Labels award. start with paper structures and create the same thing with fabric. Over the past few years, he’s won several accolades including the Mercedes-Benz Start-Up Competition

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“There are pieces that I know buyers will like and then there are the pieces that I love to make regardless of whether they sell or not.�


JE: Is there a lot of trial and error with that process? SN: [Laughs] Oh yeah. We tried it with neoprene and jersey and couldn’t find anything thick enough. Then, we finally got it to work. Each side is a sheet of nylon and inside is polyurethane, almost like foam. Then, those three layers are heat-set together to create a double-sided, very structured piece. We laser cut everything and weave them into garments. There are usually a few months of trial and error. Sometimes you’re just folding paper and realize that you actually have to make clothes! JE: You’ve done some pretty unconventional designs in the past. What’s been the wildest piece you’ve ever created? SN: When I was in school we had a project where we had to use unconventional materials. I used car tires to make a several-tiered gown that weighed about 600 pounds. I had to move it in sections with a truck. JE: So I’m guessing you didn’t have a model wearing it on the runway? SN: No, you can’t walk in it. You set it up and stand on a stool inside of it. So if you want to go to party, you basically have to get there first and just stand there the whole time as people feed you and serve you drinks. Super unconventional! JE: Many of your pieces are also very androgynous. Is that something you’ll be continuing with?

SN: I’ve been doing less menswear than when I started just because it’s a separate market. I decided to focus on womenswear, though I still use a lot of my men’s patterns. For example, I’ll do oversized pieces that can be worn by both men and women. It’s not an extreme focus of mine but it’s something I’m conscious of. JE: How would you describe your work in five words or less? SN: The love of black. JE: In your new collection for spring, I do see some blue. Are you starting to introduce some colour? SN: I figured it’s spring so a bit of navy wouldn’t hurt. There are so many retailers that look at my spring collections and think fall because I always make everything so dark. They want to see colour, so here it is! JE: It’s great that your pieces are wearable but also push the boundaries of fashion. Do you find you have to make compromises to make things wearable to sell in stores? SN: There’s definitely a huge range in my collections. There are pieces that I know buyers will like and then there are the pieces that I love to make regardless of whether they sell or not. But oddly enough, those pieces are often good sellers as well. The Room has been buying a lot of the laser cut stuff. I’m kind of surprised and happy about that.

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Photography: Aleyah Solomon Styling: Susan Eskins Hair: Charise Bauman Make Up: Patty Tsonis Models: Zoe L & Stephen P (B&M Models)

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JE: The Toronto fashion community has really embraced you. What was your experience like winning the Mercedes-Benz Start-Up Competition? SN: All you can really do is make your best work and hope that people like it as much as you do. I’ve been lucky to have that happen and win a few competitions. For Mercedes, it’s a pretty tight jury committee including Bernadette Morra from Fashion Magazine, Robin Kay who founded Toronto Fashion Week and Carolyn Quinn from IMG Canada. You have to submit a business plan, all your lookbooks and press kit and do a presentation in front of them with 10 looks. The final six people present collections a couple months later and they decide who wins at the show. Winning $30,000 was a nice bonus. It goes quickly though! JE: What do you have planned for the next few months?

SN: I’m going to Milan to do a show with Woolmark that Vogue Italia is putting on. Then, I’m going to New York for sales meetings, a trip sponsored by the Canadian Arts & Fashion Awards, and Paris for sales and some nice dinners. The show at Toronto Fashion Week will be the third week of October. Since it’s at the end of the season, it’s kind of like a celebration of all the hard work leading up to it. JE: Looking forward, are there any other areas that you would like to explore with design? SN: Yeah, so many areas but there’s not enough time! I really like architecture and interiors. I would like to design everything including furniture and dishes. For now, there aren’t enough hours in the day! ■


FASHION

Hilary MacMillan: Refining Wearable Words by Julia Eskins Photos by Aleyah Solomon


When Hilary MacMillan glided onto the Canadian fashion scene in 2012, there was an audible murmur of appreciation among Toronto’s stylish young professionals. It was as if a void had finally been filled: ready to wear designs in luxurious fabrics for cool striding city girls. You know the type: the jet-setting stylish urbanite who shops local and isn’t afraid to rock a bold print in the office.

become her signature. As with her last few collections, the Toronto-based designer collaborated with her mother Cindy, a realist painter, on a unique fabrication for spring/summer. The process, which MacMillan describes as both rewarding and frustrating, involves taking the artwork and digitizing it on the computer to create a cohesive pattern.

“I went to Tanzania to volunteer with my friend who works at an orphanage. This print was the jumping off point for me,” says MacMillan. “The collection is a loose translation of some of the flowy-style garments they wear. I’m really influenced by the 1970s so I brought that into the silhouettes. If I could, I would describe it as 1970s Africa.”

“A lot of my inspiration comes from my heritage. I’m Scottish so in the past I’ve drawn from that. I love to travel and pull from different cultures,” she says.

MacMillan is no stranger to working with family. In Walk into MacMillan’s east end showroom and you’re 2010, after returning from studying at the University bound to fall in love with a few luscious silk, leather of British Columbia, she opened a jewelry store, Elle and wool pieces. Or, if you’re daring, a striking peacock Hardware, on Queen West with her sister. Two years feather-style print from her spring/summer 2016 later, her parents encouraged her to branch out and collection. start her own label.

Along with her reputation for creating flattering and feminine silhouettes, MacMillan’s original prints have

For fall/winter 2015, MacMillan explored a dark and moody tone with a collection inspired by Latin America’s Day of The Dead tradition. Models walked the runway in black, white, red and an exclusive skeleton and rose print to the beat of a live performance by the St. Royals. ▶▶▶

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“I love this city. Toronto has a great vibe. The talent, the people and our proximity to New York are unbeatable.�


Photography: Aleyah Solomon Styling: Kelly Alves Hair: Charise Bauman Make Up: Patty Tsonis Model: Sarah (B&M Models)


“I love fashion week. The pressure gets to some people but I don’t get stressed out. If something rips, you can’t fix it and that’s just the reality,” says MacMillan. “It’s also the most honest way to get immediate feedback. People often won’t tell you their real opinion but someone who doesn’t have to face you can write it on their blog. You take things, read them and keep improving.” Fiercely opposed to fast fashion, MacMillan takes a hands-on approach to her work by making her own patterns and working closely with her Canadian manufacturers. “We keep talking about the importance of shopping local. The same goes for supporting local manufacturers,” she says. “If you don’t care about where something is made, there are huge human rights issues too.”

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While MacMillan is looking into getting her pieces into additional stores in Europe, it’s her hometown of Toronto that has captured her heart. Not only does she appreciate how open Canadians are to wearing fur and leather, but also the opportunities to design for a spectrum of seasons. “I love this city. Toronto has a great vibe. The talent, the people and our proximity to New York are unbeatable,” she says. If the packed house at her most recent World MasterCard Fashion Week show was any indication, Toronto loves her right back. Thankfully, the designer plans to stay in the city for the long haul, with hopes of designing handbags and dabbling in menswear in the future. Until then, women can look to MacMillan to inject some excitement into their wardrobes. After all, workdays are always better with peacock feathers and roses. ■


DESIGN

Gladstone Hotel: Sleeping in a Work of Art Words by Julia Eskins Photos by Aleyah Solomon


Walk into the Gladstone Hotel and you’ll likely feel a palpable mixture of rich history and new artistic voices. In the last 126 years, Toronto’s oldest hotel has transitioned from respectable social club to flophouse to hipster hub. While the grand brick arches, plaster mouldings and city’s last hand-operated elevator remain, the Gladstone is now a cultural hotspot for burgeoning artists and adventurous travellers. Neighbouring West Queen West’s hip strip of bars, art galleries and restaurants, the hotel is often credited for spearheading the gentrification of the area while still supporting community organizations and projects. In 2003, visual artist Christina Zeidler and her father, Eberhard (the architect behind the Eaton Centre and Ontario Place) completely revamped the building to create boutique accommodations in the heart of one of Toronto’s most lively neighbourhoods. During the renovation, president and developer Zeidler was inspired by a quote from Jane Jacobs’ book The Death and Life of Great American Cities that states, “New ideas must use old buildings.”

With that in mind, she commissioned artists to design 37 rooms in the hotel. With up to 100 events per month ranging from live music in the Melody Bar to Thursday night gallery exhibitions, the hotel has since become a mecca for the creative class. “The artist-designed room project came out of my experience as an artist and knowing how talented the community is,” says Zeidler. “I could have designed all the rooms myself but that would have been really boring. 37 rooms in a beautiful old Victorian sounded like a project begging for interesting, different voices.” From the modern and module Skygazer Room to the Canadiana Room outfitted with an antler-inspired chandelier, the Gladstone draws guests from Montréal, New York, Los Angeles and abroad. “Our guests are pioneers. They’re the people who try things out and are interested in the alchemy of an experience,” she says. Those with an adventurous palate may find the Surreal Gourmet room serves up the bold experience they’re ▶▶▶

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SNAPSHOT


looking for. Designed by Food Network Canada Host Bob Blumer, the space features a kitchen and kitschy food-related touches like the custom portraits of Mr. Peanut and Trix Rabbit. “Our definition of artist has a very wide spectrum. It’s not just paint on the wall, its really about people who are pursuing an area of interest with passion and an open mind,” she says. Along with the interior designers, architects, industrial designers and ceramic artists that have lent their voices, Zeidler collaborated with her mother, who she describes as having amazing style despite never claiming the artist title. Together, the two created the tower suite, a beautiful two-story space with a balcony that’s designed to feel like the coolest apartment in Toronto. Zeidler also claimed the smallest room in the hotel to create a sanctuary called Snapshot. Using photographs

of nature taken in High Park, she wanted to give the space a sense of serenity. Interestingly, the room’s window faces the tree lined and graffiti filled back alley of Queen Street, creating an experience that mixes the hard and soft elements of urban and natural settings. It’s these glimpses of the community that inspire support for Toronto’s arts scene. For the staff at the Gladstone, it’s all about creating opportunities such as the hotel’s iconic Come Up To My Room exhibition. Now in its 13th year, the installation-based show on the second floor is a hybrid of art and interior design that attracts visitors from far and wide. “Each year we keep having new artists come into it and really blow people out of the water but we need more support for things like that,” says Zeidler. “Art doesn’t come out of a vacuum, it comes out of a whole community working together to create opportunities.” ■

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FAUX NATURELLE

SURREAL GOURMET


CANADIANA

SKYGAZER


DESIGN

The Ivy at Verity: Urban Retreat Words by Julia Eskins Photos by Aleyah Solomon


Floral aromas are thick in the air and the sound of clinking glasses and laughter echo below. You might think you’re sitting on a private terrace in Paris but who needs to take an eight-hour flight when you can have the convenience of a staycation in Toronto?

Lesley Macmillan of Trianon Design to create her vision. The result is French country décor with a modern twist thanks to exposed brick walls, warm and vibrant colours, beautiful Italian linens and artistic accents throughout.

For six years, The Ivy at Verity has been the city’s best-kept secret. Located in a restored 1850s chocolate factory in the historic Queen Street East district, the boutique hotel inspired by Europe offers a luxurious retreat in the heart of the city. The hotel is just one piece of the Verity, a private women’s club owned and operated by the Aitken-Gundy family. The 56,000-square-foot space is also home to a critically acclaimed restaurant, George, the Sweetgrass Spa, Verity Fitness and club amenities used by the Verity’s diverse membership of women.

“My view is that generally women aren’t pretentious. I didn’t want a Toronto club atmosphere with overstuffed sofas and properness. The city is dark for so much of the year, I thought we needed bright colours,” says Aitken. “People say that when they come in their shoulders drop and stress melts. I think it’s because it feels residential, so it’s like they’re coming home.”

As we pass through a cocktail lounge, founder and CEO Mary Aitken remarks, “This is an early 19th century French pastry table that I bought in France. The chef has never forgiven me for putting here and not in a kitchen!” While some pieces in the hotel are items Aitken picked up on her travels, she also worked with decorator

Aitken likens the Ivy experience to a stay at a big country house hotel, except you’re in the city. When designing the rooms, she considered the amenities that women would appreciate including large bathrooms with ample counter space for accoutrements, heated floors, full-length mirrors, luxurious Hästens beds, Italian sheets and cozy bathrobes. “The whole package—staying in the hotel, dinner downstairs at George, spa services and hanging by the pool—really works out well. It’s why our occupancy is at 90 per cent,” she says. “There’s no women’s club like ▶▶▶

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this in the world. I’ve had people from London, New York, Vancouver, Melbourne and San Francisco come and say they want to open a Verity.” Walking through the lounges, you instantly feel a sense of community. From book club to wine club to the mastermind groups centred around professional development, the Verity is focused on connecting women of all walks of life. Take fashion designer Linda Lundström, for example, who recently hosted a Women In Conversation meeting to share her experience of going bankrupt. In the coming weeks, registered dietician Leslie Beck will be hosting a dinner series and Carolyn Rollins, Director of Marketing at Dell Canada, will run a session on how to use Google effectively. Catch a performance by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra at George or head to a ballet class in the fitness centre. There’s even a gallery for members to display their artwork.

“Men play golf, they go out for a beer after work— they’re making connections and doing deals out there,” says Aitken. “As women, we’re so time-starved. So I thought, let’s create something that’s like a second home where you can meet a diverse group of women.” Since opening in 2003, the Verity has grown to house 800 members, many of whom are doctors, lawyers, writers, producers and senior executives. Throughout the years, Aitken has watched members find the inspiration to take risks and make life changes because of the support from the community. “One member always wanted to be a gemologist but was a lawyer at one of the major law firms. Everyone said, ‘You keep talking about this but you keep practicing law. What are you doing?’” says Aitken. “She now owns a beautiful atelier in Rosedale called Studio 1098. She’s living her dream! If you ask her how she went from law to gems, she would say, ‘Via Verity!’” ■

Aitken was inspired to start the Verity after noticing a lack of mentorship and networking opportunities among women in senior management positions.

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CITY: TORONTO SCENES


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Here & There Magazine: Toronto Issue  

Here & There Magazine is a quarterly digital publication covering art, design and fashion in cities around the world.

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