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November 2011

A YEAR AT CITY HALL Ford Nation’s ups and downs so far How newcomer Matlow and other midtown reps have made a difference Presented by

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THE BEATLES GO ON Author creates post break-up albums for the Fab Four 4

ONE YEAR LATER: And what a year it’s been for our midtown councillors


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FASHIONABLE DIGS: Designer loves the non-traditional location of her store


BEYOND STORAGE: Looking at the garden shed in a whole new light


CUT IT OUT: A no surgery way to tighten wrinkled and sagging faces


SORRY, NO TEAM FOR YOU: Why students sometimes can’t compete after changing schools

Plus lots more... On the cover: Freshman councillor Josh Matlow gets a taste of city hall politics. Photo by Francis Crescia/Toronto Today

Judging those of us who judge


oor city politicians: A year after their election, media hacks get to take apart their records to date, highlight their failures and successes, grade their performances and publish it all for everyone to see and pick at. And they can expect it again next year for their midterm report cards. That’s on top of the ongoing critical coverage that has already led some prominent city politicians (no names) to cut off some prominent city publications. Lucky city journalists: No one looks over our work to publicly and so consistently point up our hits and most embarrassing misses. And as a group we certainly have had many over the past year, perhaps especially in the latter category. Coincidentally, Toronto Today magazine is hitting its first anniversary at the same time as Toronto’s current city council. Our premier cover, in fact, was that infamous, slightly scary shot of Rob Ford who had been elected mayor just before we went to press. The newly ushered-in political era in our once fair city was all the breaking news of that day. And so, of course, in this issue, 12 months later, we are recapping and evaluating the year and our municipal representatives’ achievements. But who’s analyzing us, Toronto Today, on our first year in print as a magazine? “Who’s evaluating the evaluators?” one might ask. You are. Just as, in the final analysis, you are really the evaluators of the politicians, favouring them — or not — with your vote in the next election, you are also the judges of our journalism. You cast your vote for us, we hope, by reading us, advertising in our publications, discussing the issues we raise with your neighbours, and engaging with us through letters, phone calls, email and social media.

Eric McMillan Editor-in-chief It’s always nice though to get some direct response. Just as I’m sure politicians appreciate constituents calling to give them earfuls between elections (especially if the messages are supportive), we’d appreciate hearing how well you think we’re doing. Tell us what you think of Toronto Today so far. Our midtown-oriented political coverage, our lifestyle coverage, local personality profiles, sports wrap-ups, arts and entertainment highlights…. And also how it looks. Do you like our sophisticated, yet accessible layout of highly readable in-depth features, intriguing medium-length stories and not-to-missed short hits? (He asks objectively.) Seriously though, we want honest answers. Tell us what you have liked and what have really liked in our first year of publication. Send your emails to iloveyourmagazine@ Just like Rob Ford says, I’ll read and answer each one personally. At left are some shots of a few of our first 12 issues to jog your memory. You know, I guess we city journalists are a lot like city politicians, after all. TT NOVEMBER 2011 TORONTO TODAY 


WRITING ON THE WALL: Graffiti artist’s rendering of Mayor Rob Ford on St. Clair-area surface Ford had earlier powerwashed.

One (long, long) year later How Ford Nation and our midtown reps have fared in their first 12 months


as it only been a year? A year since that tumultuous election campaign that brought in a new Toronto mayor on a platform of “respect for taxpayers” and “stopping the gravy train” — along with a more conservative-leaning balance on city council. In the words of University of Toronto politics professor Nelson Wiseman, “The Rob Ford victory was like a meteor hitting the earth.” Despite electing several new representatives, central Toronto residents did not necessarily welcome the new regime’s impact. However, they weren’t unanimously dismissive either: analysis in the November 2010 issue of Toronto Today showed in midtown wards Rob Ford received between a third and half of votes cast for mayor. That issue also featured a life-size photograph of the red-faced mayor-elect on the cover with the words “Life with Ford: Midtowners didn’t vote for him. Will he work for us?” Twelve months on, we may get our first answers to that question. It has been a rollercoaster ride so far, with Ford and his allies both pushing through and retreating on major issues. In his first month in office, the new mayor managed to scrap Transit City, the plan put in place by former mayor David Miller — although some councillors are now seeking ways to revive it. Also in the early days he succeeded in scrapping the vehicle registration tax, as he had promised throughout his campaign. In May he also won council’s support to privatize garbage collection, at least in a section of the city west of Yonge Street — thanks in part to the compromise brokered by several councillors, including Josh Matlow of Ward 22 St. Paul’s. Since then the new regime has experienced several missteps, having to back away from proposals to speed up development of the Port Lands, to reduce libraries and make other service cuts.



Meanwhile, the plans to cut the land transfer tax and to extend the Sheppard subway line using partly private funding appear comatose, if not dead. Worse politically, Ford is now appearing vulnerable, compared to his position as a “king” a year ago, Wiseman says. The arc of success followed by perceived failure has been predictable, with polls showing support for Ford waning and even his allies straying from the pack on key municipal matters. The Toronto media has also been quick to pounce on Ford’s recently perceived weakness. But the cause goes back to last year, says Globe and Mail columnist Marcus Gee, who lauded Ford’s money-saving goals and his disciplined drive to accomplish them. “The main negative really goes back to his election campaign, when he guaranteed there would be no service cuts, and put out a completely unrealistic financial plan that promised to save hundreds of millions,” Gee says. “He didn’t really know at the time how it could be done, and now it’s become clear that you really can’t meet those targets without really looking at service cuts.” Midtown councillors — both new and veteran — have played leading roles in backing and blocking Ford’s most aggressive initiatives. They have also provided voice-of-reason support for compromises appealing to their more moderate mid-Toronto constituencies. “I think the councillors in (midtown Toronto) have done a really good job of protecting the services that are essential and beloved to the midtown residents,” says Jaye Robinson, councillor for Ward 25 Don Valley West. Narrowly defeating a longtime incumbent last year, Robinson, who had years of experience in the city’s economic development department, was awarded a coveted position on Ford’s executive.

However, she still calls herself “an independent” and bemoans the divisiveness some observers say has continued to wrack city hall since the supposedly agenda-setting election. In contrast to Miller’s methodical approach, the present administration has fast-tracked its agenda — but perhaps too fast, Robinson says. “It’d be nice if we could strike a balance and be a little more moderate in our approach.” This desire has placed her in opposition on some issues. “I really feel my constituents come first and the mayor’s agenda comes second,” Robinson says. “And I’ll continue down that path for the rest of the term, because that’s who elected me.” Another freshman councillor, Kristyn WongTam strongly supported Transit City, which Ford axed. She was also an opponent of major service cuts and the proposals to take Port Lands away from Waterfront Toronto to quickly develop into a mall and amusement park. A former New Democrat, she came to office with a declaration she would work with Ford and would support his plans to eliminate the personal vehicle tax and the land transfer tax. But, she says, as city rep for Ward 27 Toronto Centre-Rosedale, she has found she works better with the area’s MP Bob Rae and MPP Glen Murray, both Liberals, than she does with the mayor and his councillor brother Doug. “Somehow, across the city council chambers with a right-wing councillor from Etobicoke, we are not able to find commonality,” Wong-Tam said. More completely in synch with the mayor’s agenda is the politically more experienced colleague, John Parker, next door to Robinson at Ward 26 Don Valley West. Sitting since 2006, the conservative Parker finds the current regime increasingly Continued on Page 9

Newbie Matlow trying to rise above it all


t’s a rainy afternoon at city hall and Josh Matlow is wrapping up a staff meeting. A whiteboard in his office overlooking Bay Street is covered by more than 50 handwritten To Do notes, including reminders to update his website and obtain some new street signs for a neighbourhood in his St. Paul’s ward. A circled note in the corner of the whiteboard could be Matlow’s motto: “The small things are the big things.” It’s the mark of an energetic newbie councillor who is still learning to juggle the demands of city hall with the needs of his constituency. Matlow, along with a swath of council reps, is set to mark his first year at city hall, a place he says is never short on intrigue. Matlow has been called a rising media — and social media — star on this council. Other councillors, however, also seem to appreciate his work. “He’s been very dynamic, very active, and he’s out there in his community,” says city politics veteran Joe Mihevc. “He’s my riding mate, he’s got the other side of St. Clair, so I enjoy working with him.” Views may vary on Matlow, but he is clear

RISING STAR: Below, councillor Josh Matlow on the grassy deck of Toronto’s city hall.

By Karolyn Coorsh

that his role is one he defined before announcing his intention to seek a council seat. A self-proclaimed member of the centrist clan on council, Matlow offers a vote that cannot be swayed simply by political ideology, left or right, he says. “I think there’s a misunderstanding by a few that when you’re a political centrist at city hall that you’re sitting on some proverbial fence and that’s not the reality,” he says.

“I will always take a position on every item. I just won’t consistently base my decision on any one ideology.” It may seem like a difficult balance to strike, given the extreme political realities of council’s 45 members — some of whom, according to Matlow, base every vote on which council friend or foe has proposed the motion. Continued on Page 9



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Hanging it up Ex-53 Division top cop looks back






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By Karolyn Coorsh

n a Saturday morning more than 20 years ago, a pair of bank robbers walked into a Danforth area bank intent on pulling off a heist. Undercover cop Larry Sinclair was there, waiting. Communicating via earpiece with officers outside the bank near Danforth and Victoria Park, Sinclair tracked the armed pair as they held up a teller and booked it outside — straight into the arms of waiting police officers. The incident ended in the parking lot with arrests and one robber fatally wounded. The sting was the culmination of weeks of surveillance work from Sinclair and his colleagues. But it wasn’t the intensity of the stakeout or its inherent danger that Sinclair remembers as he recounts the story on a midtown coffeehouse patio in October. It was being one step ahead. “We thought, this is what we were going to do and we were bang on,� he says. “What stands out is, we were right.� After 43 years with the Toronto Police Service, Sinclair has a plethora of similar tales to tell. Clad in a blue plaid T-shirt and sunglasses that shield his eyes on an unseasonably sunny day, the 62-year-old looks anything but the part of the uniformed police officer. Indeed, he need not look the part any longer. In August, the former unit commander of midtown’s 53 Division hung up his police hat for good. Sinclair may have left the cop beat, but he didn’t say goodbye to the neighbourhoods he’s policed for so long. Aside from being one of the longest-serving officers on the force, Sinclair is one of a few Toronto cops who live in the same neighbourhood they police. Born and raised south of Casa Loma, the decades-long South Eglinton

resident raised his five now-grown children in the area, and still calls it home today. Of course, Sinclair didn’t begin and end his policing career in 53 Division. Entering cadet school in 1968 at age 18 — the same year he got married —it wasn’t long before Sinclair was working the traffic beat as a collision inspector. Stints on the Emergency Task Force, Homicide Squad and Intelligence Services soon followed, as well as posts at various divisions throughout the city. When he started, cadets were typically fresh out of high school. There was a steep learning curve. “You don’t have the street smarts,” he said. “At 18, you haven’t dealt as an adult with anyone.” A striking difference from today, he says, is the average age of officers joining the force is almost 28, many of whom already have university degrees. Just this past year, Sinclair’s son Doug left accounting to join the service and now works at 33 Division in North York. “So they come in with a lot of life experience … which is great,” Sinclair says. But even with a lack of life experience at 18, Sinclair says he knew he wanted to help people. “Even as a cadet, people would bring you what they thought were earth-shattering problems and it didn’t take any time at all to … do a little research and get it solved,” he said. “That was really the vast part of why I got into it.” Problem solving would come in handy at various junctures of his career, particularly in September 2000, when then-police chief Julian Fantino appointed Sinclair commander of the World Youth Day Safety and Security Taskforce. Managing security logistics for an event attended by the Pope and thousands of Catholic pilgrims from around the world, Sinclair began planning in February 2001, more than a year before the event was set to take place. Then Sept. 11 happened. “Basically, the buildings were still burning, and he was getting calls about cancelling the event,” Sinclair said of Father Tom Rosica, the CEO of 2002’s World Youth Day, and a good friend of Sinclair’s. Now faced with unprecedented security concerns, Sinclair was part of a contingent of organizers who in early 2002 flew to the Vatican to convince officials, including Pope John Paul II, that Toronto would be prepared. “There was a lot of tug-ofwar then, but we got the answer before we came back, of course, that they were going to go ahead with it.” It was the most memorable project of his career, Sinclair says. photo courtesy toronto police service “You work 18-hour days basically, and you’re always tired, LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON: Doug Sinclair, at but it was always so satisfying,” right, followed his dad Larry into policing. he said. After World Youth Day, Sinclair again moved to different units, receiving a promotion to staff inspector along the way. In November 2004, Sinclair was assigned as unit commander of 53 Division. With his office mere blocks from home, it was with trepidation that Sinclair took over the post. “Policing an area you can be somewhat anonymous except for your immediate neighbours who might see you in uniform,” he said. “But when you’re in charge of the area because you go to so many community, events you’re recognized and known.” His trepidation was shortlived. “I soon came to realize that knowing the area was really a benefit,” he said, adding over the years he met prominent citizens including politicians and faith leaders. “So that really made it more comfortable for me.” Though it’s still new, Sinclair is settling into retirement life. He’s currently helping son Frank with garage renovations. During his coffee break, he takes a call from another son who is trying to find out where Sinclair and wife Margaret’s anniversary dinner is taking place that night. He’s content leaving policing behind, taking with him a sense of accomplishment. “You have high moments, you have low moments but they don’t even equate in the big scheme of things,” Sinclair says. “If you do a career as a police officer, the majority of the time, it’s fun.” TT


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: I have been warning my neighbour for years that his vicious dog is going to hurt someone. Last month his dog jumped the fence between our houses and attacked my seven-year old son. He needed stitches to close the wounds on his arm and face and missed some time from school. The dog has been put down by the city. My son however continues to be affected by this incident and may require plastic surgery. He may also lose his school year because of the time he is missing from school. Can I hold my neighbour responsible for my son’s damages?


: The law requires that dog owners keep their pets under control and take reasonable steps to ensure their dogs do not escape and harm other individuals. As you had previously warned your neighbour about the potential for his dog to hurt someone, the owner should have taken measures to ensure his dog could not escape and hurt other individuals. If the dog was not leashed and the fence was inadequate to contain him, there will be some responsibility on the dog owner for your son’s damages. Your son may be entitled to recover damages for his pain and suffering, the loss of his school year and out-of-pocket expenses. You and your family members may also have a claim for your loss of care, guidance and companionship.


Designer Sara Duke pleased with her choice of Dufferin and Bloor West for her shop


By Ann Ruppenstein

ara Duke left behind the nine to five grind to focus on creating her own clothes. The local fashion designer opened Sara Duke Factory Outlet, which offers clothes, accessories and vintage belts, on Bloor Street West near Dufferin Street earlier this year. “It’s full of cute stuff that you will like, that’s my tagline,” she says. “I do tidy clothes that are appropriate for work and weekends and everything is pretty easy to wear and wash.” Most of the selection is made up of her own line, I Made This for You, which can also be found at the Coal Miner’s Daughter in Mirvish Village. She also carries a few other Torontobased designers like Dawn Petticrew, Thursday and Nicola Chong. Duke graduated from fashion design at Ryerson University in 2007 and immediately landed a job in product development at a big firm. Then she says she needed a change because she didn’t enjoy being cooped up in an office all day. Before she opened her factory store, she started off by creating high-end custom-made pieces like tailored suits and wedding gowns. “I really lucked out in the neighbourhood and my customers are super awesome and

there’s tons of neighbourhood support,” she says. “It started to go very, very well to the point that I don’t have time to do the custom stuff.” She says she was drawn to her store because of its large size, which includes a studio space in the basement where she makes everything with the help of a few interns. “I feel like if I opened up on Queen Street I would have just been yet another boutique on Queen Street, but here it’s like people really noticed and it’s been really good,” she says. She hopes people leave her store with clothes they feel comfortable wearing for many seasons to come and for her customers to know she was thinking about their needs when she designed and created the clothes, as her line name suggests. “I just want people to know that I really thought about it and I really made it and I really loved that garment while I was making it — I made it for you,” she says. “My runs are often small, I like to keep things special. I like people to know that the chances of you showing up at a party and someone else wearing the same shirt are really slim.” TT

Year later

Cont. from Page 4

to his liking. Under Miller “every day was Christmas and there was no end in sight to our ability to fund our wildest ambitions” while the new council has brought a more disciplined recognition that at the end of the day somebody’s got to pick up the tab, he says. Ford is “having greater success as mayor than I might have predicted a year ago,” says Parker, who is also deputy speaker of council. Yet, he cites the city’s re-commitment to the Eglinton LRT line — a project launched by the previous council and once expected to be killed by Ford — as an example of a compromise benefitting midtown residents. “After some concern over whether that was a go or not, we were all glad that the mayor announced that he’s going ahead with that,” he said. Parker was also one of three midtown councillors — along with Robinson and Eglinton-Lawrence’s Karen Stintz — who were instrumental in turning council against the Ford proposal to take the Port Lands area from Waterfront Toronto for speeded up development with a mall and amusement. However, fear-mongering about Ford’s rule has not panned out and will not in the future, Parker predicts. “Despite all sorts of speculation about the coming apocalypse, things are stable and business-like at city hall.


We’re moving ahead, making progress on matters and finding common ground in which to compromise.” Parker points to the proposed expansion of Leaside Hockey Rink as a model of how council will work constructively in the future under Ford. “The city is coming in with some capital funding, the city’s contribution isn’t a number pulled out of a hat, it’s a number calculated according to the expected ability of the project to deliver future revenues.” Perhaps not surprisingly, the longest-serving and furthest left councillor, Joe Mihevc, assesses prospects differently. “Your city is at risk,” warns Mihevc who is marking his 20th year in office, first as a pre-amalgamation York representative and since then as councillor for Ward 21 St. Paul’s. Nothing particularly damaging for midtown has happened yet, he notes. “The first year of a new council you’re wrapping up things from the previous terms. We had our parks projects, we had our tennis courts in Cedarvale Ravine, we’ll be doing the double on-ramp to the Allen Expressway from Eglinton.” Though the worst is yet to come, he also notes how quickly popular support appears to have fallen away from Ford. “I expected him to have maybe two years of a honeymoon with the

city and I’m surprised at how quickly he’s burned his bridges,” Mihevc said. “Within the first eight months people have already figured out that he lied to them in getting elected. And he got elected and now his real agenda is coming forward.” Wong-Tam is even more optimistic about the changing mood in Toronto, for which she gives indirect to credit to Ford. “There is a particular awakening with Torontonians that I don’t believe was here when we had a David Miller

administration,” she says. “On one hand it’s quite inspiring to see citizens activate and be engaged. On the other hand one of the reasons why they’re here at city hall in such critical numbers is because they are concerned with the political direction of their city.” After all the other issues have come and gone in the next three years, an engaged citizenry could be Rob Ford’s greatest achievement. TT — with files from Tristan Carter, Karolyn Coorsh and Omar Mosleh

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Office: 416.925.9191 Direct: 416.484.8288

Consistent Superior Results

Cont. from Page 5

The reality of a council headed by a rogue mayor has been one surprise for Matlow, a former school trustee whose vote this time last year affected only public school board decisions. “The biggest surprise for me is how much influence the mayor’s office has over the agenda at city hall,” Matlow says. “And it’s ironic that it’s the leftwing and the Millerites themselves that created the stronger mayor system that they’re now subject to. “Ford has taken advantage of the very house that Miller built.” It’s a house that as a centrist politician, Matlow hasn’t really been invited into. He is not a member of Ford’s executive committee, nor is he in the mayor’s inner circle. But Matlow has managed to carve out his own niche of influence: The 35-year-old understands and harnesses the power of the media. He spreads his message and keeps up-to-date via Twitter and Facebook. And he engages listeners via The City with Josh Matlow, his Sunday afternoon municipal politics radio show on Newstalk Radio 1010. Matlow insists he does not use the show to boost his own ward interests,

but to give guests, mostly councillors on opposite sides of the political spectrum, an opportunity to engage the electorate. Though he’s proud of his efforts this past year, Matlow regrets voting in favour of abolishing the vehicle registration tax. “I think it was done too hastily,” he said. “I believe there should have been a stronger argument from the city manager as to how it would impact the 2012 budget.” Though he’s been vocal in his questioning of Ford’s leadership, Matlow says he agrees with many of the mayor’s initiatives, including a review of Toronto services. “What I strongly disagree with is the method he’s gone about implementing those ideas,” he said. “I would have liked to see a more thoughtful and mature process.” Matlow says his first priority is his community. At least once a week he walks a portion of the ward and takes notes on local issues such as a tree branch blocking a stop sign, or a broken sidewalk. “I’m just constantly learning how I can do my job better,” he says. TT

211 Laird Drive

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Laird-Eglinton Pet Hospital has finally relocated. For over 15 years, the neighbourhood veterinary clinic has been helping the residents of Leaside and East York care for their pets. It all started off slowly at the Leaside Centre back in 1996. “Initially, there were some long days where we’d maybe see one or two patients all day…that certainly has changed!” says Larry Tung, who along with doctors Donna Chui and Ryan Franklin are the full time veterinarians at the hospital. “We strive to offer progressive, professional care but also stress the personalized service that people really appreciate from their vet”. Add to that, all the great pet-loving clients in the area and it doesn’t take long before a slow starter clinic begins to burst at the seams. ”It was getting pretty tight in our old space beside the PetSmart - staff were bumping into each other in the back treatment area, clients were waiting outside because our lobby was so small”. That has all changed now as their new larger space at 211 Laird Drive has also allowed for the provision of cat boarding, dog grooming and a dedicated dental room – services that they weren’t able to offer before. The one thing that was never an issue was parking and that’s been maintained here as well. “We polled our clients and parking was consistently at the top of their ‘want-list’ – our new location should keep people happy!” The move was tough but well worth it…”our clients seem to like what they see and hopefully it’ll be a while before we need to worry about moving again!”

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GEORGE MARTIN REDUX: Beatles fan and author Jeff Walker combed through John, Paul, George and Ringo’s post-breakup catalogue to put together six core “Beatles� albums plus several compilation discs.


n his first album after the Beatles broke up, John Lennon famously proclaimed, “The dream is over.� However, Leaside author Jeff Walker begs to differ. “It was never over,� said the two-time author who had previously written The Ayn Rand Cult. “John Lennon’s opinion notwithstanding.� Walker is trying to keep the dream alive by musically reuniting the Beatles in his self-published book, Let’s Put the Beatles Back Together Again, 1970-2010, which became available at in September. “You don’t have to think of the Beatles as being finis in 1970,� Walker said. “Certainly, in retrospect, your Beatles can go on and on and on right up until 2010.� Though the Beatles separated in 1969 they subsequently released dozens of solo albums. In his book, Walker creates the fictional Beatles Releasing Collective to bring together the best of their individual work and put it out in the form of compilation albums. “It’s a fantastic era,� he said. “It’s like a whole second half of their music legacy.� For example, Walker takes “Jealous Guy� from Lennon’s 1971 album Imagine and McCartney’s 1973 hit “Band on the Run� from his album of the same name and places them, along with other prominent songs from the four ex-Beatles, on the first proposed album set he calls Black Box. “On any given solo album, whether it’s by John, George, Paul or Ringo, there’s usually only one or two tracks that are going to stand out,� Walker said. “So that’s why you need my book, so as to have some guidance on which tracks to pull off these albums.� Together as a band, the Beatles released a little more than 200 songs. Walker selected more than 500 post-1969 songs by the Beatles’ members. “I’m a Beatles freak and I decided to listen to this stuff for a prolonged period of time,� he said. “I listened to everything they put out individually over the last 40 years. I don’t think there’d be too many Beatles fans out there who would listen to that diversity of material over that period of time with such fanaticism.�

Imagine there’s no break-up The ‘lost’ Beatles albums from 1970–2010


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In the early going he had help from another local Beatles fanatic, Toronto Today Editor-in-Chief Eric Macmillan, but as he points out in the acknowledgements “my obsession outlasted his.” Not only did Walker have to pore over every original track, every edited version and every remix by four mop-topped musicians from Liverpool to get the right selections and track orders, he had to gather an exhaustive Beatles music library. Although Beatles music became available on iTunes last year, Walker began the process of collecting songs almost a decade ago. “I had to go onto ebay and bid for a lot this stuff,” he said. “I spent a lot of money accumulating this collection which would have been easy a year ago but back then it was tough.” Deciding which tunes to cut and which to keep was also tough, according to Walker. In the 500-page book Walker explains each of his selections and gives the reader context and insight by telling them what was going on in the artist’s life and the world when the song was recorded. While 75 percent of the choices are obvious, he said, the other 25 percent are debatable but he won’t get mad if you disagree with some of his selections. “I assume that most people, if they end up making their album sets, will make them slightly differently then I do according to their own personal tastes,” he said. “People don’t have to duplicate these things. They can modify them to their hearts’ content.” In the course of his extensive research and writing to put together the albums, Walker became known as somewhat of a Beatles expert, appearing at shows and on radio to discuss their work. Before he even thought of it as a publishing project, he went to Liverpool and was interviewed on BBC Radio Merseyside where the interviewer talked excitedly about the project as leading to a book. So Walker obliged and Let’s Put the Beatles Back Together Again, 1970-2010 was born. The book can be purchased online at or at select record store locations. TT

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Divine pasta place Liz Campbell


aking over the premises of an established neighbourhood eatery like Terroni must have been a challenge, but Divino seems to have risen to it. Around for less than a year, it’s already managed to attract a significant local following. My glass of Pinot Grigio ($9) is deliciously crisp. And here’s one example of why this place is so popular. I ask the waiter for the winemaker’s name. He returns with the bottle, writes it down for me — Concilio — and even offers me “another splash” since I like it so much. That’s what I call great service. Our dinner starts with the appetizers — I mean that literally. After their arrival, the waiter brings out the bread and a “tapenade” of chick peas, eggplant and roasted peppers. He does the same for the table behind us. The logic of this defeats me but the appetizers come so quickly, I suspect they caught him on the hop. The spread is so good, I break my rule about not filling up on bread. Just a note: a tapenade should contain olives but the word seems to have been usurped for any pureed spread for bread. My wild mushroom crostini with garlic aioli and Tallegio (a gorgeous

Italian cheese) ($11) is earthy and flavourful, the crostini still crisp. The mushrooms aren’t all, strictly speaking, “wild” — indeed there are a lot of distinctly “tame” button mushrooms — but there are enough enoki and liz campbell/toronto today shitake to be forgiven. And every so NEW FAVOURITE: Food critic Liz Campbell was introduced to Sorrentino, now often one gets a nip of the cheese. It’s tops of her pasta list, at Divino. a beautifully balanced dish. My guest’s mussels come in a rich ommendation (“This is one of my Ice Cream Co. and it’s fabulous. Fat broth of white wine, lemon, leeks and favourite dishes on the menu”), I opt pieces of fig and a distinct port flavour grape tomatoes ($11). He starts raving for Sorrentino ($17), a pasta that’s in the creamy blend. The peach crumble doesn’t fare as with the first mouthful and he’s right. new to me. It proves to be square The leeks and tomatoes add texture sheets of pasta, filled with a beautiful well. The grilled peaches are delicious and the flavours blend so beautifully, combination of summer squash, sweet but the steel cut oat topping is more he scoops every last mouthful of broth potato and goat cheese, carefully fold- porridge than “crumble”. What went proclaiming this better than any fish ed into neat envelopes and served with wrong? Divino is a spot I would return to a tangy ginger cream sauce. I’ve never soup he’s ever tasted. For his main course, he orders been a fan of ravioli which has always again and again. The staff is knowla classic pizza — Quatro Stagione seemed to me to be mostly pasta with edgeable about the menu, and there — tomato sauce with olives, pancetta, a hint of something in the middle. But isn’t a long wait between courses. And roasted red peppers, artichokes and I love these stuffed envelopes — you then there’s the food – I’m still raving Fior di Latte (a chic name for cow’s can really taste the filling. And the about Sorrentino, my new favourite milk mozzarella) ($17). This is pizza gingery sauce makes a perfect foil for pasta. Note that the menu is not quite the as it should be, paper-thin crust and the delicate squash and sweet potato. same as one sees on the website and lots of toppings. I realize why so many This is pasta heaven. From the dessert list, all home- the wines by the glass don’t come at families are here with their children, tucking into pizza. I’m guessing they made except for the ice cream, we the same bargain basement prices. want to wean their offspring away select peach crumble ($8). But I over- But I’m guessing they’re probably from the thick crusted, pepperoni hear the ice cream flavours at the too busy to make the changes. Make a laden pizza wannabes one gets at the next table and can’t resist asking for a reservation, they fill up quickly. Divino, 1 Balmoral Ave. 416-515taster scoop of fig and port wine ($2). chains. On the basis of our waiter’s rec- It’s actually from the Metropolitan 0003. TT

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3393 Yonge St. 416.322.2200 NOVEMBER 2011 TORONTO TODAY 13

A History of Excellence in Toronto Since 1979 Davenport Kitchens has been creating spaces that are the true essence of form and function. Davenport Kitchens specializes in everything from complete custom kitchens, bathrooms, fireplace and entertainment units to custom closets, built-ins and everything else in between. In the past several years Davenport Kitchens has developed a strong working relationship with The Robinson Group, their renovation partner, who are also very well established in the Toronto building community. This relationship enables Davenport Kitchens to handle projects that range in size from the smallest ‘kitchen tear-out and rebuild’ to the largest multistory additions. Davenport Kitchens prides themselves on their ability to offer quality products, reliable service and attention to detail throughout the design, manufacturing and installation process. With 2 showroom locations feel free to stop in and talk to one of the qualified and experienced designers. Or call or email to setup a consultation in your home. 592 Mount Pleasant Road – 416-5441103, 263 Davenport Road – 416-969-8732. Info@

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arden sheds are something of a cult in England, I understand. They turn them into openair bars, and build them to look like the Tardis time machine in the famous TV series Dr. Who (And wouldn’t I like one of those!) Battered wood cartons even become primitive retreats in allotment gardens. I’ve always had a thing for garden sheds. It probably grew out of my fascination with old barns. Who knew what you’d find in them? My antique stained glass light fixture came from an abandoned chicken coop (I’m not kidding). And I found a wonderfully woven wire rug beater in the back of my grandpa’s barn. Whatever you want The thing about sheds is they can be whatever you want them to be: a utilitarian storage space for outdoor tools and equipment, a play space for the kids or a hideaway where you can sit and think and watch the rain. With all these possibilities, invest in the best possible shed you can afford. Home Depot has wonderful models with handsome resin exteriors that are almost nice enough to live in (think Henry Thoreau and his cabin at Walden Pond). A tempting mailing from Bosman Home Front, makers of all kinds of sheds and outdoor goodies, had me dreaming over their wonderful designs. Their line of sheds is prefabricated, so you can

install them yourself or have their crew do it for you. Not dirt cheap, but guaranteed for 20 years and a handsome addition to any garden (see www., about 35 km northwest of Fergus). If you’re saving up, of course, you can always make do with the standard aluminum shed from Canadian Tire, Home Depot and scads of other retailers. They’re dark and cramped and they don’t look very nice (tip—plant vines to cover them). They also bend and crack eventually, so keep the duct tape handy. But they do the job for a while, anyway. If you don’t have a shed, now is a good time to get one. Many are on sale and you should have time to put it up and get it stocked before the


Getting ready for the indoors If you’re an indoor gardener, round up your supplies now. It’s really nasty to try to thaw a frozen shed door to get at your trowel or supply of plant pots. Before the snow locks you out, move the essentials to a heated porch or basement: potting soil, perlite/vermiculite, plant food, fork to mix soil, small stones for the bottom of plant pots, light gardening gloves and other basics. Don’t forget to dig out your snow shovel (ugh), too, along with ice melters and scrapers. Something to toss your compost pile is useful, as well — a garden fork or compost tool



• Tidy up and put away garden tools. Wipe metal parts with a rag and stand tall digging tools in a bucket of dry, coarse sand. Rub wooden handles with a little mineral oil.



3 ¼” x ¾ sq. ft.




• Pull summer annuals out of any containers and empty the worn-out soil. Then scrub pots with a 10 percent bleach solution and put them away clean and shiny for next year.

$2.29 to $3.79




• Stash ornamental containers in the shed to extend their lifetime. That’s essential for clay pots, which will soak up water in winter and crack when it freezes.

Spend some quality time in your shed. The weather is too cold to garden, but just right for this kind of manual labour — and you’ll be able to enjoy being outdoors that much longer. TT


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• Wash your favourite garden gloves before you pack them away, so they don’t turn into crumpled, mud-hardened horrors over the winter.

• If you grow perennials in containers, try storing them in your shed over winter. That may give them just enough protection to survive until spring. I’ve had ornamental grasses, garlic chives, mint and even a young rose spend winter in the shed and come back out to deck and patio for many seasons.


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And in they go… Now that you’ve shifted all that stuff, you can store the things that need winter protection.


Got a shed? Get it ship-shape And if you do have a shed — of any sort — October is a fine time to turn it out and organize all the bits and pieces it holds. Pull out all that stuff you thought might come in handy over the summer: little plastic pots too thin or too small to be useful, broken tools and leaky garden hoses. While you’re grubbing around in there, check the labels on fertilizers and other packaged products. Many need specific temperatures for storage. The hotshot soil additive Myke, for example, should be kept above freezing. Otherwise, it loses some of its potency and you’ll have to use lots more of it next year. Liquid fertilizers and other solutions have to come indoors before the weather freezes, too, in order to avoid messy surprises in spring. And watch out for organic supplies like bone and blood meal. Raccoons and other critters will sniff them out and tear them apart for food over the cold months.

— especially if you have a big pile that won’t freeze for a while.




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ll homeowners are faced with this question at some point. If you are reading this, it is most likely because you are currently at this crossroads in your life as a homeowner. They say that the majority of life’s problems can be solved using math. So, to help you solve your dilemma, let’s apply some basic math to this “sell or renovate” problem. First, consider the problems you are experiencing with your current home. If your family is growing with a new baby on the way, or with children who no longer want to share a bedroom or (God forbid) the in-laws think it would be nice if the whole family was under the same roof and are coming to live with you, than clearly it is time for a larger home. Even if it’s time for you and your better half to expand the space you share, just to have a little more breathing room, it has quickly become obvious that a bigger house is necessary. We are now brought to our original question – do you sell or do you renovate? Let’s consider the math involved when it comes to selling. Approach your friendly real estate agent and explain that you want the most possible cash for your current home, so you can put it towards buying a bigger one. First, it is necessary to negotiate the


Sell or Renovate? commission as well as agree to give a minimum 2.5% to a buying agent. So, subtract a minimum 3.5% from the selling price of your current home right off the bat. So, imagine that you are selling your house for $400,000 less 3.5% ($14,000) = $386,000. The house you want is $600,000. Add to this price land transfer tax, lawyer’s fees, moving expenses (an average of $30,000 or more). Furthermore, no preexisting house will ever be the house of your dreams. It will always be missing a certain feature, or there will be something that you or your better half are “not crazy” about. But hey, you can always fix it up, right? So now, you have bought a new house that requires “some work”. How much work? How much money will this work cost? $5,000? $10,000? $50,000? Ok, looks like the selling option cost a bit more than you originally bargained for. And besides, you like your neighborhood, and your kids love their school and their friends. In fact, everything is great. You just need a little more space. And you need it now. No problem. Using a sophisticated and highly regarded home renovation system, Modular Home Additions is expanding the homes of happy families just like yours, giving them the home

of their dreams, with no stress and no mess. Imagine a turnkey renovation completed by one of Toronto’s most noted home additions companies, being selected three years in a row as the city’s Best Contractor. Our clients are leaving raving reviews on sites such as www. We understand that the word “renovate” can instill fears of chaos, stress, unreliable contractors and frustration to a homeowner. Modular Home Additions has worked hard to restore order to what can be a complicated process. We provide accurate estimates, obtain all building permits and honor our quotes. Your budget will be followed dutifully, with no surprise charges. While the majority of construction occurs offsite, our clients can truly enjoy their renovations without hassle or disruption to their daily lives. Get the home of your dreams, at the price you want. Modular Home Additions offers a superior and cost-effective alternative to moving to a bigger home. We assure you that our simple renovation system is less intimidating than the jungle of real estate agents combined with an ever fluctuating housing market. So sell or renovate? The choice is yours. But we encourage you to call us before you decide. We are in the business of expanding homes and increasing the quality of life.


Forget the knife Some docs are using surgery as a last resort


By Liz Campbell

here’s a new breed of cosmetic doctors these days. They’re trading their scalpels for needles and while they can’t change markedly wrinkled or sagging faces, they can achieve amazing results with virtually no down time. Dr. Vera Madison of the Madison Clinic doesn’t believe in surgery except as a last resort. “You can do so much without cutting,” she explains. “And once you stretch the skin, it never goes back to the same resilience and elasticity it had before.” Instead, with the skill of an artist, Madison uses two products to tighten sagging skin and fill in those creases that are inevitable with age. Mary Johnson, now aged 51, is a regular client. “I lost 30 pounds but it seemed to come off my face first. I really started noticing the lines,” she recalls. “I was quite depressed. My body looked great but my face looked old. I was about to turn 49 and decided to give myself a birthday present of a younger face.” Johnson did a great deal of research. She talked to people and visited a number of doctors, before settling on Madison. Her first visit was “miraculous” and “dramatic” she says today. Her face looked younger, less wrinkled and fresher. “But the best part is that no one has ever been able to tell I’ve had anything done,” she says. “They just think I look great.” There are three steps to Madison’s technique. The first is the injection of Botox into the platysma, a sheet-like muscle in the neck extending from the lower jawbone all the way to the collarbone. Used for more than 60 years to help people with crossed eyes and tics, Botox paralyses the muscle (a process not as serious as it sounds). In younger people, this muscle is already tight, but as we age, these bands become thick and cord-like, creating folds in the skin of the neck as they contract. Gravity does the rest. The result is stringiness and the turkey wattles typical of aging necks and jaws. Madison explains what Botox does. “When you break a leg and it’s put in a cast for a long time, the muscle becomes smaller through disuse. Your leg looks thinner,” she said. “We’re doing the same thing to the muscles in the neck.” The result is a smooth neck and reduction in the jowls. But the treatment doesn’t end there. Once the muscle is out of commission, small amounts of loose skin can be left behind. Madison uses an advanced ‘refirm’ technique (using equipment from Europe) which tightens and firms the skin, leaving a smoother jaw line. The second step is the injection of Restylane, a hyaluronic acid filler used in Europe since 1996. “Hyaluronic acid is a natural substance which your own cells produce,” says Madison, who uses it to fill in the crease lines than run from nose to edge of lip. “As we age our skin loses volume so gravity pulls it down. I simply replace the lost volume.” This is where the artistry comes in. We’ve all seen the chipmunk cheek effect — an attempt to enhance the cheekbones with pockets of filler that

BEFORE AND AFTER: Using a combination of products can help reduce the look of lines and sagging skin.






4 1 6










2 2 6





4 1 4 0

look artificial and even silly. The aim, says Madison, is to create a natural, fresh look that simply takes the face back 10 or 15 years to when the effects of gravity were less evident. The last step is the use of laser. “I like it because it closes pores and tightens your skin,” says Madison. “A special head on the laser penetrates into the skin and crunches the collagen ... It gives a nice firm neckline.” But it’s important to note this isn’t a quick fix. While some changes are immediate, it takes time, typically a few weeks, for the muscle to become smaller and for the full effects to be seen. The good news is there is no down time. The cost for this procedure runs between $300 and $1,000, depending on the structure of the neck and the extent of the problem. Madison expects the effects to last for “a few years”. “Some people might need a little addition of Botox on and off to keep the muscle from gaining volume,” she adds. Johnson comes back every five months or so just for a touch-up. “I didn’t want to look like a caricature. I just wanted to look like me, a little younger and fresher,” she says. “And that’s what I have.” All this without a surgeon’s knife — and at a fraction of the cost. TT NOVEMBER 2011 TORONTO TODAY 17



Quest for comfort Next-generation minivan has come a long way from its predecessors


he last-generation Nissan Quest was the forgotten brother of luxury minivans. Honda and Toyota had shorn up the segment and as far as buyers were concerned, the Quest wasn’t really part of the mix. As such the Quest made its exit from the Canadian marketplace in 2009 where it was powered by the same engine as the Maxima and Altima along with others in the Nissan fleet producing 240 hp. It’s suspension was tuned a bit stiffer like the rest of the Nissan line and provided a ho-hum driving experience. This year the fourth generation Quest was introduced, built at Nissan’s Shatai Kyushu plant in Japan. The sporty feeling has given way to a much more enjoyable softer suspension and the athletic feel of the interior and exterior has been replaced with a comfortable and smooth ride. The front seats could double as your livingroom sofa. They’re super comfortable and coupled with the premium audio system featuring Bose technology found in the SL and LE trim levels, the Quest makes for the best drive-in vehicle on the road today. And that’s not even considering the fold up rear seats. The 2012 Quest has also

By Mathieu Yuill

received a new 3.5-litre engine that produces 260 hp and 240 lb/ ft of torque. It has comparable get up and go to the 248 hp engine found in the Honda Odyssey and makes for an outstanding 11.1 L/100 km in the city and 8.1 L/100 km on the highway. Unlike the Toyota Sienna and Honda Odyssey, the Quest only offers seating for seven (the others offer seating for eight) but entering into the rear seats or folding them up doesn’t require a PhD in physics like its contemporaries. Honda and Toyota’s models have a series of latches and straps that require infographics explaining which one to pull in which order to fold seats flat into the floor or move the middle seats out of the way to enter the rear. The Quest’s mechanics are easy and can be done one-handed; a big plus when you’ve got groceries and kids in tow. The Quest’s appearance is a bit deceiving as it almost looks like a longer wagon or stumpy SUV. On a trip to the mall, a person in the parking lot thought it might be the new Honda Element. The Quest has improved in every aspect and in a year when all the big minivan players are refreshing their offerings, they need every leg up they can get. TT NOVEMBER 2011 TORONTO TODAY 19


Mark Your Calendar Fri., Nov. 11 A Concert of Remembrance, Nine Sparrows Arts Foundation,1570 Yonge St., 7:30 p.m. Featuring The High Park Choirs of Toronto Zimfira Poloz, Conductor Brendan Cassin, trumpet Popov & Vona, duo-pianists Soloists and Choir of Christ Church Deer Park Eric N. Robertson, Music Director With Special Guest Appearance by John McDermott. For more information please e-mail 9sparrows.arts@ Sat., Nov. 12 St. Cuthbert’s Christmas Fair, St. Cuthbert’s Church, 1399 Bayview Ave., 11 a.m. Jewellery, treasures, home baking, gift baskets, kitchen items, Christmas crafts and gifts, quilt raffles and a silent auction with over 100 items from local merchants. Free. Sit-down luncheon with a tuxedoed waiter for $7.50 per person. Fri., Nov. 18 Holiday Gift Fair, Central Eglinton Community Centre. 160 Eglinton Ave. East, 10 a.m. Holiday Gift Fair features vendors with wonderful gift ideas, Snowflake Cafe, gently used holiday treasures including second hand books, door prizes, pie-baking contest. Free admission. Table rentals, $25. Phone 416-392-0511 for more info. Sat., Nov. 19 Holly Berry Fair, Rosedale United Church, 159 Roxborough Dr., 10 a.m. Come one come all to the annual Holly Berry Fair. Unique vendors including knitting, silent auction, baked goods, books, treasures and our famous Fran’s Deli. Free. Sun., Nov. 20 Inside the Vortex: Media in Time of Crisis, St Clement’s Church 70 St Clements Ave. 10 a.m. Forty Minute Forum presents former senior correspondent, CBC-TV News, Brian Stewart. Governments and media are overwhelmed by information overload and crisis news. Stewart considers this in light of famine in the Horn of Africa. Everyone is welcome. Free.


Shop early, be happy By Susan Wakefield


t is November and the holidays are already everywhere. Before the stress of December to-do lists takes over, why not make this your month to get all of your shopping done? When the December parties start up and those around you start scrambling, you can relax and enjoy another appetizer (or cocktail perhaps?) Toronto is full of great places to shop and a few extras are rolling into town this month with fun and unique gifts sure to delight everyone on your list. Happy shopping!

Toys they love for less The Samko and Miko Toy Warehouses are open for business now through to December 23 and those who shop early will get the best selection. Their 28,000 square foot mega toy stores are packed with brand name toys at prices significantly lower than mainstream chains. Hasbro, Fisher Price, Mattel, V-Tech, Barbie, Hot Wheels, Little Tykes and Step 2 are just some of the big names you will find on their shelves. There is also a huge book selection with many prices less than half of the cover price. Free parking is available at both locations. Richmond Hill: 60 East Beaver Creek, 905-771-8714 or Toronto: 77 Fima Crescent, Etobicoke. 416-532-1114. www. The one and only One of a Kind Yes it feels like it has been around forever, but there is a good reason for that. The One of a Kind Christmas Show and Sale just keeps getting better every year with 800 artisans in more genres than ever. Pick up a unique piece of clothing or jewellery for the fashionista in your life and get first-hand stories from the designer who made it. Handmade and truly extraordinary chocolates, candles, body care, glass and pottery make beautiful gifts for teachers, hostesses or that hard-to-buy-for mother-in-law. Instead of the usual scarf or sweater, buy a beautiful piece of original art or photography for your spouse that can be enjoyed for years to come. Your kids will get a kick out of the handmade toys and dress-up clothes unlike anything from those big box stores. Don’t miss this year’s competition that challenged artisans to create the most unique coffee cup using their particular medium and vote for your favourite in the People’s

Choice Award ballot box. November 24-December 4. Adults: $14 ($12 online), Seniors/Youth (13-17): $7, Children (12 and under): Free. Treats for gifts, treats for guests The Cheese Boutique began as a small mom and pop corner store on Bloor Street. This Toronto institution now resides in a former sausage factory on an industrial strip in the West End. A self-described “epicurean emporium with the cumulative knowledge of three generations”, their shelves are stocked with the best of everything. Olive oils from 80 different regions, a chocolate boutique, dry aged beef, a huge variety of preserves including jam made from green walnuts and of course, lots and lots of fantastic cheese. While their wares earn the respect of even the most discerning chefs, their welcoming staff make it accessible to anyone. Cheese Boutique, 45 Ripley Ave., 416-762-6292, Old-fashioned holiday shopping Main Street in Unionville is full of village charm, small town hospitality and wonderful places to shop and eat. From December 2 to 4 the clocks will turn back to Victorian days with the 31st Annual Unionville Olde Tyme Christmas and Candlelight Parade. Get your family in the holiday spirit by shopping among the roaming carolers, taking a carriage ride or just admiring the Christmas decorations. Shops under the light of streetlamps as the stores are open late for the weekend. On December 2 at 7:00 p.m., leave the glare of Christmas lights behind and enjoy a candlelight parade down Main Street. Handcrafted floats full of carolers and costumed children, musical groups and of course Santa will delight your whole family. Unionville boasts a variety of specialty stores, boutiques and clothing stores for children and adults.


Keep warm, look cool Who wouldn’t love a bear-shaped TV?


By Liz Campbell

AREN’T YOU FORGETTING SOMETHING? The ZOMM device connects to your cellphone and sounds an alarm if you walk too far from it, making it difficult to forget your phone at the gym.

ames Dyson (of vacuum cleaner fame) encourages innovation and seems to constantly be bringing out intelligent products. The latest is Dyson Hot which monitors the room temperature by measuring surrounding air. If a drop is detected, the heater turns back on to maintain the desired temperature. Fan heaters rely on inefficient motors or dust-friendly grilles, and as the heat rises you’re left with a partially heated room and a worrying

burning smell. It took 22 engineers three years to research, develop and test Dyson’s patented air multiplier technology for its application in a heater. How it works is complicated, but what it does is warm the room with low surface temperatures and no visible heating elements. And there’s a cool remote that magnetically stores on the machine. Come summer, it can switch to cool air. Available in stores now. $499. Do you continually leave your cell phone in the car, on the store counter, in the office or at the gym? The poker chip-sized ZOMM is the first wireless leash for cell phones that will flash, vibrate and even sound an alarm if you start to walk away from your phone. Just clip the Bluetooth-enabled

device to a keychain, purse or pocket to ensure you never leave it behind again. Because the device is wirelessly connected to your phone via Bluetooth, ZOMM also acts as a functional speakerphone with a noise-cancelling microphone so you can answer calls directly for safe hands-free communication while driving or when the phone is out of reach. A panic button feature will even allow you to sound an alarm or call for local emergency assistance with just the press of a button. $99.99. Check it out at Now here’s a real décor statement. Who needs a boring rectangular HD TV? Hannspree offers televisions shaped as a basketball, apple or even a polar bear. These are super funky. The televisions transmit in full 1080p HD and range in sizes from 19 to 55 inches. Prices start at $299 and are available online from a host of retailers including Check out these funky sets at

HOT HOT HOT: James Dyson, at left, has developed a new heater based on his air multiplier technology. CUTE OR WHAT? A 1080p HDTV needn’t look like a TV with Hannspree offering a variety of shapes and styles.




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Transfer student blues


GIRL POWER: Taya Day, left, and Robyn Baldwin both credit their fitness modelling for helping them stay motivated and helping them inspire other women to eat, exercise and feel better about themselves.

Models crunch stigmas


By Brian Baker

hen it comes to being healthy, modeling competitions provided by Serious About Fitness, World Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation, Canadian Bodybuilding Federation as well as International Drug Free Athletics, raise the bar on pristine physiques. In the gym six days a week, sometimes twice a day, might be too much for some, but for competitors like Taya Day and Robyn Baldwin it’s that extreme regiment that helps them stay motivated. Baldwin, a former CFL cheerleader turned advertising professional, and Day, a gymnast-come-personal-trainer, divide their time between work, fitness modeling and competitions. “I think for anyone, especially me, a personal trainer, it’s a great way to push yourself to the next level,” Day says. “I can help myself succeed, and then I can help my clients with their goals.” Both Day and Baldwin double their efforts in the gym six to eight weeks before a competition. A week before competitions, Day will water-load, drinking four to six litres of water. Then the day before, she will take diaretics to shed the fluid in order to augment her physique. It’s not as bad as it sounds, Baldwin admits. “It isn’t healthy, but because I’m so healthy throughout the year, it’s okay to let myself slide for the one day and then the next day I’m getting all the electrolytes I need back into my body so I don’t shock myself.” Why Baldwin, who recently placed third in a Quebec regional WBFF competition, and ninth at the worlds, would put herself through such an arduous workout can be traced to three years ago. “I just saw myself in the elevator mirror one day, I was going down for a swim, and I was so confused as I didn’t know what had happened to my body,” she said. “That Christmas my mom gave me an Oxygen magazine in my stocking and the girl on the cover I knew.” Baldwin had been a member of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats cheerleaders and seeing her friend in such peak condition got her to pounce on her need to stay fit. “I saw the cover and said to myself, ‘If she can look like that, than I can look like that’,” she said. “It was a bit of

motivation, a little bit of competitive spirit, so I did a lot of research in terms of my nutrition.” After enlisting in fitness model Lyzabeth Lopez’s hourglass workshop, she started researching proper nutrition and teaching herself clean eating. “I don’t eat like most female competitors because I am a hard gainer, so I have a really hard time gaining muscle,” she says. “It’s real easy for me to lose fat, so I barely do any cardio compared to some girls.” Day takes the same strict path. “For the six to eight weeks, I stop drinking any alcohol, I don’t eat out at any restaurants, I prepare all my own food,” she says. “Basically it’s no sugar, no salt, no simple carbs — the only carbs I eat are brown rice, quinoa and sweet potatoes.” Proteins include chicken, fish with plenty of veggies and good fats like olive oil, natural peanut butter and almonds. But sometimes, the hard and fast rules of their diets can alienate them from friends and family. “The diet is really hard because, I don’t know, socially just being able to go out to dinner or for lunch with your friends or not drinking any alcohol it’s kind of hard for other people not to understand,” Day says. That discipline has led to success at SAF, IBFA and CBBF meets. She has won twice in the SAF in the elite category, including the 2010 Fall Spectacular in Ottawa. Baldwin shares the same rep, when it comes to restraint, adding friends aren’t as understanding. “A lot of people don’t understand why you give up drinking or cheap foods,” she said. “I feel great all the time, but as soon as I have a cheap meal or drink, I feel like crap.” Baldwin describes herself as an “alpha female”, emphasizing she’s a full-time career woman balancing work with fitness modeling. When asked if met with opposition about her modeling aspect, she admits no one has put up a fuss, but she does have words of advice for those flexing their opinions. “My response to them is, ‘The reason why I’m doing this is a picture on a cover of a magazine caused me to have a healthier life’,” she says. “If I can inspire one other woman to choose to eat, exercise and feel better about themselves because of a picture that they’ve seen of me, then I am okay with that.” TT


hanging schools can be a tough ordeal for some students. It doesn’t help matters when they are not allowed to join sports teams during the regular season or even playoffs at their new home-awayfrom-home. Take for example, when LeBron James signed with Miami: Did he sit out the playoffs? When Wayne Gretzky was traded to Los Angeles, did he have to shed the post-season along with his tears? And was Roy Halladay barred from the NLCS when he left Toronto for Philadelphia? No. So why did Billie Grant, one of Eastern Commerce’s top senior girls cagers, experience being shutout from the playoffs at her high school? She was unable to play in regional, city or OFSAA playoff games alongside her fellow Lady Saints. “It was a little annoying,” she admitted, adding kids shouldn’t be barred from playing period. To me it’s a huge bummer. The Toronto District School Board prides itself on its Fit For Life and Right To Play advocacy, but not allowing kids to partake in the playoffs on a technicality is a technical foul. But you can’t blame the board because the provincial body, OFSAA, enacted the regulation. Last year she started anew, moving into the Eastern Commerce catchment area, just off of Coxwell, from the Father Henry Carr Secondary School region of Etobicoke. “It’s not like kids are getting scholarships,” Grant said. The source for her discontent was the Ontario Federation of School Athletics Associations’ transfer polContinued Page 26 NOVEMBER 2011 TORONTO TODAY 25

Provincial party time

Cont. from Page 25

icy. According to OFSAA’s regulations, “Every student who has been registered as a transfer from another school within the previous 12 months is ineligible to compete in OFSAA-sanctioned events, unless he/she appeals and is deemed eligible by the OFSAA Board of Reference”. Those clauses include: a change in permanent residence by the student and their immediate family; moving to an Ontario school from outside Canada or the United States; the closure of a student’s former school or no sports participation at the inter-school level for 12 months prior to transfer. Additional concessions are made if a student has transferred prior to their grade 10 year for personal, social or academic reasons; changed residence to live with another guardian; has removed themselves from an abusive home environment or has been forced to leave an independent school. I’m sure you glazed over that legalese. I know I did. And that’s a lot of red tape especially for teens who just want to play. I know this isn’t the big leagues, but let’s just let the kids play. Board athletic administrator Nick Rowe says the transfer policy — established province-wide in 1986 — was enacted to reduce an uneven amount of playing teams. The results from too many powerhouses led to some schools folding certain sports teams. Rowe illustrated OFSAA’s point with an analogy: Three Etobicoke kids want to attend Leaside for the football program. The Lancers star junior running back, who lives on the hill behind the school, is now trying out for the senior team in his grade 11 year. However, he is displaced because the three Etobicoke transfers have made the team instead. The OFSAA transfer policy helps to discourage that sort of event from happening. Now, the board has granted concessions, allowing transfers to play during the regular season. Regional play bared little influence on OFSAA contention for schools, Rowe said. These students are part of a clause called, “Section G”. It’s that same consideration that allowed Grant to play in the Saints’ South Region matches. The provincial body has no qualms with such allowances. “OFSAA always supports the decisions of local associations,” Rowe said. Still, Eastern Commerce qualified for OFSAA last year, and Grant was unable to play. The grade 12 admits if the team gets anything less than gold this year, not being allowed to play in 2010 will sting even more. “It will kind of hurt,” she said. “You didn’t get to play even if you live in the area.” TT 26 TORONTO TODAY NOVEMBER 2011

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Toronto Today - November 2011  

The November 2011 issue of Toronto Today, the Town Crier Group of Community Newspapers' Midtown edition, a fresh news and lifestyle magazine...