YYZ Your Guide to Summer in Toronto
Hot Beach Body Workout Tips
GTA Daytrips Travel Guide
Anime North ‘09: Get Your Nerd On
SUMMER FEAST: SUMMERLICIOUS ‘09 EATER’S PARADISE - CHEF’S NIGHTMARE
SPEND A DAY WITH JASON BLAKE AND HIS FAMILY PROUD AROUND THE CLOCK: GAY PRIDE PARADE YORK U. STRIKE AFTERMATH: PICKING UP THE PIECES GET WARPED: SUMMER IN THE MOSH PIT T.O.’s BEST PATIOS: A HANDY GUIDE TO TORONTO’S BEST CHILL SPOTS
Summerlicious 10 Get your fill of Toronto’s scrumptious summer event
off-ice with 16 Jason Blake The Leafs forward and his family invite you into their home
York strike 18 aftermath Students left in limbo once again
Anime North 24 12th Annual convention promises to be a nerd’s delight
Pride week 26 The gay community speaks about the true meaning of T.O.’s craziest party
beach body 28 You don’t have to spend a dime or even leave your house to get fit. Cover photo: Amy Shields Back cover photo: Keith Roberts 2
departments travel 5 6
GTA Getaway Water Parks
food & drink 7 8 14
Organic Toronto T.O.’s Micro Brewers YYZ’s Patio Picks
events 23 Van’s Warped Tour
Survive Summer School
Courtesy Anna Shevchenko
Editor’s Note Summer in the GTA: what more could one ask for? Toronto has proven itself to be a global city, showcasing the world’s cultures and flavours, as well as the classic attractions that bring people to Toronto time and time again. So, for students living in the most populous city in Canada, there are a ton of things to do during the summer months - whether you’re on a budget or not. The purpose of this issue is to bring to light everything available to students spending this summer in the GTA. From battling summer school blues, to working on your summer physique, YYZ is full of the best ways to have fun this summer. In “Summerlicious”, reporter Leslie Wilks takes us on a tour of the popular summertime food festival, revealing that it may not be the exquisite dining experience it seems. Reporter Tim Morse takes us through "Organic Toronto,” introducing us to all natural grocery stores and specialty food stores in the downtown core. Profiled in the magazine is Toronto Maple Leafs player Jason Blake. Jessie Coletti-Greco takes us into the off-season with the forward for
Photo: Amy Weir
MANAGING EDITOR ALEX SCHWALM
EXECUTIVE EDITOR LESLIE WILKS
ART DIRECTOR ALINA SOTULA
ASSOCIATE ART DIRECTOR MIGUEL AGAWIN
a look at what he does when hockey is on hiatus. If it’s local food and drink you’re looking for, make sure you check out Amy Shields’ story on Toronto patios, as well as David Lidstone’s inside look at available brewery tours. For events, attractions, and advice, the summer issue of YYZ is your key resource to enjoying your summer in the GTA.
JESSIE COLLETTI-GRECO TANISHA DU VERNEY KAVEH KHAZRA DAVID LIDSTONE KEITH ROBERTS
RESEARCH CHIEF NICOLE MCISAAC
FACT CHECKERS ROSE DITARANTO ANGELO ELIA TIM MORSE
ANDI HUI ADRIENNE MIDDLEBROOK ANGELICA SAMAD MELISSA SUNDARDAS
PHOTO EDITOR AMY SHIELDS
ERICA CASSAR RONDA COLLINS JENNIFER GORDON MADDIE-JO TILLAPAUGH
FACULTY ADVISERS RENEE WILSON PIERRE HAMILTON
pg 8 4
Humber Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning School of Media Studies and Information Technology 205 Humber College Blvd. Toronto, Ontario, Canada M9W 5L7
GTA GETAWAY Forget the plane ticket: these summer hotspots are just a car ride away. by Adrienne Middlebrook
Photo Adrienne Middlebrook
t’s a hot summer afternoon and you’re stuck in the thick city smog. You long for a swimmable beach, an adventure, anything but a packed patio or a tacky Toronto tourist spot. Then you have an idea - cram your friends into a car, blare your favourite tunes and let the warm breeze cool down your sunburnt face. Road tripping is a Canadian summer tradition and an inexpensive way to get away from the city for a few hours. “Day trips are a good idea because they give you an escape for a day or two,” says Grace Sammut, an Ontario Tourism marketing coordinator. “It’s a good option if you don’t have a lot of time or money to spare.” In 2007, 47% of travel was to or within Ontario, and was responsible for 32% of Canada’s tourism revenue alone, according to investinOntario.com “Canadians and Ontarians traveling within their own country and province puts money back into local economies, allowing the towns to flourish,” says Anna Kulinski, a travel and tourism professor at Humber College. Tourism in Ontario is a $22 billion industry that supports more than 300,000 jobs across the province. “We live in the second largest province in the country,” says Summut. “Ontarians should get out there and explore where they’re from.” Wasaga Beach is a mere 132 km drive from
downtown Toronto and a popular day trip destination for Torontonians in the summertime. “I’m always hopping in the car and cruising up the 400 to Wasaga in the summertime,” explains University of Toronto student Ashley Thackaberry, who has a cottage in the popular resort town.
“Ontarians should get out there and explore where they’re from.”
- Anna Kulinski, Travel and Tourism professor at Humber College.
“It’s so relaxing and such a short trip, especially if there’s no traffic.” The 14 km stretch of beach on the shores of Nottawasaga Bay, makes Wasaga the world’s largest fresh water beach. The area attracts thousands of visitors each year. Just an hour and a half west of the GTA you’ll come across the town of Elora, famous for its numerous activities relating to its gorge and quarry, like tubing down the Grand River and cliff jumping. “Cliff jumping was scary the first time,” says Ontario tourist Jeremie Graham. “You stand on the edge of the cliff looking down on the water terrified but after that you don’t want
to stop.” If a cliff jumping adrenaline rush isn’t your thing, cruise down the QEW an hour and a half west of Toronto. There you will come across one of the seven wonders of the natural world - Niagara Falls. Besides the Falls itself, there are countless things to do within the Niagara region. The area is known as a world-class wine producing capital. If you have a few extra dollars to spare, afternoon wine tours are available for $65 a person. The packages include pick up and drop off from various points in the GTA, winery tours and wine tasting. If you don’t have a car, be sure to explore the Toronto Islands. Bike riding or walking around the group of islands gives you the fill of nature you crave without ever leaving the city. Various beaches, parks and bike trails can be found throughout the island community. A two-way ferry ride is offered for $4 if you’re under age 19 with a student card, and $6.25 otherwise. To get even further away without your own car, try www.camping.meetup.com. The site offers many shuttle buses for day trips to various places in southern Ontario. Last summer, the “Wasaga Beach Express” bus service made daily trips to Wasaga Beach and back for only $30. The next time you’re dreaming of a scenic summer vacation spot, try looking just beyond your own backyard. You may be surprised at what you can find. YYZ
E VE R Battle the heat this summer by splishin’ n splashin’ all over the GTA By Melissa Sundardas
Imagine being in a tunnel with water that twists, bends and weaves you around before shooting you out into a full-size pool. Or imagine swimming and diving into a huge wave pool that rocks and drifts you along as walls of water come crashing in. Water parks: they aren’t just for kids anymore. “People may think water parks are only for little kids, but they couldn’t be more wrong,” says Bryan Sui Chong, operations manager at Wild Water Kingdom. Many college and university students find that water parks are a great way to keep cool, get active and spend time with friends. “We have more teenagers and adults visiting (the park) because they can enjoy the bigger slides and the other attractions we offer,” he says. Wild Water Kingdom, located in Brampton, Ont., is not only Canada’s largest water park, but an ideal spot for students to splash, swim and take pleasure in their time together away from school. Aside from the popular Lazy River tube ride and Cyclone water slide that have people lined up around the park, Wild Water Kingdom has other appealing spots where college and university students can just relax and hang out. “The Carribean Cove is a restaurant/bar area that has little cabanas you can rent out for your own private group,” says Sui Chong. “After having fun in the water, people, especially the college and university kids, go over to the Cove and have a drink and catch up on things.” The cabanas are shaded, gazebo-like areas that are off on dry land in the park, but still close enough to the clear, blue water and faux palm trees to make you feel like you’re in a tropical paradise.
The water park also has activities that don’t require you to get wet. There’s mini-golf, batting cages and bumper boats to try out if you’ve already dried off. If you’re looking for more intense water slides to try, Ontario Place might be the place to go. Ontario Place’s Soak City is the only water park located in downtown Toronto and has some of the most daring, fast plunging water slides in the city. For a real adrenaline rush after all the year’s hard work, the slides at Soak City are a must. With names like Pink Twister, Purple Pipeline and Hydrofuge, brave challengers can reach speeds of up to 50 km/hr shooting down the tubes and plummeting into a six-foot-deep landing pool. “The majority of people lined-up for these slides are college and university students because they’re the ones who are fearless of these rides and often like to go in groups and race each other on different slides,” says Terry Caddo, director of marketing and communications for Ontario Place. “These slides are guaranteed excitement for students -- you won’t find (slides) as fast and as fun as these at any other water park,” he says. Allen Tan, a third year business administration student from McMaster University, says he likes going to Soak City with his friends in the summer not only because it has fun attractions, but because of its location. “(Water parks) are so much fun in the hot weather, so we usually go there during the day and then pack our stuff back into the car and chill at a patio or even go to a club later on since we’re already downtown,” says Tan. Canada’s Wonderland’s SplashWorks is a recommended water park to check out by many
college and university students who make regular visits during their months off of school. “As just a water park, I think it’s pretty awesome, but it also has roller coasters and other rides because it’s an amusement park, so that’s a bonus,” says Krista Sumali, a second year event planning student from George Brown College. To get soaked as a group, grab a raft and line up for The Plunge. This slide takes a three-seated raft sailing over 50 feet of free fall plunges that will surely be a memorable experience for you and your friends. For those who aren’t fans of water slides, you can take a dip or dive into Whitewater Bay. It is Canada’s largest wave pool and always has SplashWorks crowded. Not only is it the largest wave pool in Canada, but it has the biggest waves too. A horn is sounded every so often to warn swimmers of bigger, new waves that will be rolling in. “I think of Whitewater Bay as a water ride because it stirs you around so much and that makes it more fun than a normal pool,” says Sumali. The Pump House is also a great area of Splash Works to let loose and get drenched. It’s an area with water spraying and spilling all over the place that makes a perfect spot for a water fight. Whether it’s chilling out at Wild Water Kingdom, slipping and sliding at Ontario Place’s Soak City or riding the waves at Canada’s Wonderland’s Splash Works, each of these water parks have something to offer that will help you beat the heat and enjoy an escape from the books. YYZ
YYZ4FOOD & DRINK
An Organic Toronto Natural foods are the latest cuisine to sweep Toronto. YYZ reporter Tim Morse shares his experience journeying into the world of all things organic. I recently (and somewhat reluctantly) switched from the free plastic bag to the ubiquitous cloth bag. The next thing I knew I was trying organic food and coffee, and let me tell you, it was like nothing I’ve experienced. Toronto is bursting with organic restaurants, grocery stores, and coffee shops. The main issue is location. The organic craze extends as far west as Bloor West village, along Queen St. East to The Beaches, as far north as Lawrence Ave. on Yonge St. and south to Lakeshore Blvd. Almost every district in that core of Toronto will contain some kind of pure organic store. So far, the most organic rich neighbourhood I’ve seen in Toronto is the Annex, home to 13 organic shops and restaurants, including the Annex Organics rooftop farm, Mercury organic coffee shop, Live restaurant, and Noah’s Nutrition Centre. Here are some organic suggestions and highlights I encountered while foraging Toronto’s streets: First and foremost are groceries. There are many stores which do have certified organic groceries, but are limited to certain sections or produce. Places like the Big Carrot, Organics on Bloor, and This photo and background photo: Amy Shields
North American phenomenon Whole Food Markets have been at the peak of Toronto’s organic food grocery stores. Another unique favourite of mine is The Healthy Butcher. They sell 100 percent organic meat, which in their words is “unsurpassed.” Burger and sausage chef, David Zilber, says the meat comes from specially selected farms where the animals are free-range and naturally raised without any chemicals, growth hormones, or antibiotics. “The burgers and sausages are all prepared with organic produce as well,” Zilber says. “For example, some of our burgers include sun-dried tomatoes and caramelized onions packed into the meat.” Another innovative Toronto-based organic idea is The Beet Café. Nutritional practitioner Michelle Vella and homeopathic doctor Heather Osler, started the café a few years ago with the idea of properly representing organic foods and products to their patients and to locals. The idea became even more inventive when the store went from a market, to a café, then to a restaurant. It’s essentially one-stop shopping for the organic enthusiast. The shop opened in 2008 with the intention of being a market, but since there were a few major markets in the area, Vella and Osler opted to make it more of a convenience store for their customers. “We want all of our patients and customers to eat organic because it supports local growers, ensures a healthy lifestyle, and organic growth is an ethical practice,” says Vella. Their menu offers coffee and tea, and made-from-scratch meals and treats. The store offers fruits, vegetables, breads, juices, and personal products. Vella says she wants the store to be like an organic convenience shop.
When I first entered The Big Carrot, I thought it looked like any other market, when I first walked in, until I reached an information desk through the front doors. I was greeted with a friendly hello and was promptly asked if there was anything I could be helped with. This was a big shock being a Loblaws shopper myself, where help is hard to find. I asked simply where I could find the oranges, what was different about them than normal oranges, and if they were more expensive. They knew immediately - price, comparison, and location. After walking around both the Loblaws and The Big Carrot (which are conveniently two blocks apart) I noticed that there were only subtle differences in prices for the most part. In fact, at the time oranges were 20 cents cheaper than at the Loblaws. For an evening out for dinner, a meal will cost almost the same as any other restaurant simply because organic restaurants make fairly basic meals. For example, The Beet Café sells their organic Bison Burger for $13 where most any other pub will sell it for the same price, and of course fries are included! For household products, you are going to be paying on average $1-2 more than Mr. Clean or Pine Sol brand cleaners. Steak lovers can expect to pay $22 for an 8oz rib eye where as at a normal butcher or grocery store it’ll run from $12-16, but trust me, it’s worth the price difference if you’re going for a real steak. It may be a bit scary to think about how expensive this organic switch may run you, but on average, you’ll find that most organic products are comparable, pricewise, to non-organic products. YYZ
Photo: Maddie-Jo Tillapaugh
Photo: Ronda Collins
HOP‘n THE VILLAGE with
There are few things I enjoy more than a cold beer on a hot summer day. Toronto is covered in bars, beer stores and LCBOs, but for a really enjoyable place to stop for a pint or two, I thought I’d try going to the source. Toronto has its fair share of breweries, many of which are easily accessible by subway or bus. Almost all of the breweries offer tours of their facilities, complete with samples, gifts and a journey into the world of beer making, and all of the tours are as informative and interesting as they are refreshing. Likely the most popular and well known of Toronto’s brewery tours is the Steam Whistle brewery, south of Spadina and King. Steam Whistle started giving tours as soon as the facility opened in 2000, and retail coordinator Chantelle Maubert says that the tour’s success has to do with the people who run it. “I think the fact that we have tour guides with extensive training, and who know all different kinds of beer is what makes us stand out,” says Maubert. “Our staff really knows what they’re talking about, which I think really sets us apart. We’ve gotten loads and loads of feedback and it’s mostly very positive.” The Steam Whistle tour was very extensive and the
longest of the tours I went on. During the tour I was given samples of the initial ingredients and the finished product, and shown both the production and bottling facilities. Maubert says that the tour is very consistent at bringing in people and that advertising, such as the virtual tour on the company’s website, has kept it that way. “They’re very successful, we’re sold out a lot of the time,” says Maubert about the tours. “Some people call ahead to book big groups, but a lot of people just walk in off the street.” Guelph University graduate Dan Miller has been on the Steam Whistle brewery tour five times in the past three years and heartily recommends it. “The people there treat you really well,” says Miller, “It’s a pretty fantastic atmosphere, and of course the beer is quite good.” Miller says that he thinks the brewery’s success has to do with where it’s located. “Its right next to the Roger’s Centre and not
YYZ4FOOD & DRINK
too far from downtown, so sometimes I’ll go from the tour to a baseball game or a movie.” Though the Steam Whistle Brewery is very tour-focused, the Mill Street Brewery is slightly less so. Mill Street brewer Adam Rader is pretty laid back when it comes to describing the Mill Street experience. “It’s just the brew pub, there’s not much of a tour really,” says Rader. “You just come in, stand in a bunch of different spots, stare at the shiny tanks and I tell you how beer is made.” Rader says he sees very little reaction to his tours during the weekdays, and says he’s unsure of the response the weekend tours have received. Mill Street’s head brewmaster Joel Manning says that the tours he gives helps the company by getting feedback from their customer base. “Beer is really a human thing to us. The interactions between the brewers and the consumers is really important to us,” says Manning. “You can come down here, you can try the beer, look around the brewery and talk to us about what you like and what you don’t like, and we’ll build beers around what people are asking for.” The Mill street Brewery is a great deal smaller than the Steam Whistle Brewery, which I found gave it a slightly more intimate feel, and Whereas the Steam Whistle tour is conducted by a tour guide or a member of the retail staff, the weekdays Mill Street tour is conducted by one of the brewers. John Bowden gives tours at the Great Lakes brewery and says he takes pride in informing people about the process of brewing beer. “I think we’re the only tour that lets you taste the beer as it goes through the fermentation process,” says Bowden. “What we try to do on the tour is give people a chance to see the ingredients we use for brewing, the process of how we brew it, how it becomes fermented, how it tastes during the fermentation stage and how it tastes at the very finish, on draft.” Though the Steam Whistle and Mill street breweries hold their tours at set times during the day, the Great Lakes brewery will only do tours on prearranged appointment. YYZ
1 (All photos on this page by David Lidstone)
ents are mixed in the ‘mash tun’ at the Steam Whistle Brewery. 3: After 22 years, Great Lakes still brews in the original kettle. 4: Mill Street brewmaster Joel Manning samples beer from the fermentation tanks.
225 Bremner Blvd. tour:
1: Each bottle is carefully handled by the brewer at Great Lakes Brewery. 2: Ingredi-
brewery and bottling facilities
tour: large brewery
55 Mill St.
brewpub and single room brewery
30 Queen Elizabeth Blvd.
price: $8 basic tour $15 6 pack tour $26 12 pack tour
• 2 sample drinks from the bar • tour conducted by guides • souvenirs (comic book, bottle opener, sample glasses, and more.)
• 4 different samples from the bar • tour conducted by brewers (weekdays) or retail staff (weekends) • no souvenirs
• 4 different samples from the bar • more from fermentation tanks. • tour conducted by retail staff • no souvenirs
not all it’s cooked up to be 10
YYZ4FOOD AND DRINK By Leslie Wilks
’s eight o’clock in the morning and you’ve just arrived at work, fully aware you won’t be leaving until well after midnight. While the restaurant you work at won’t be open for another nine hours, there’s plenty of work to do. So it starts: braise the lamb; debone the chicken; prepare glazes, sauces, and soups; wash the vegetables; make the mousse; bake the cakes. The list goes on — as does your day. Now, repeat this for 16 days straight. That’s what former head chef at Boho, Scott Murie, went through 12 times in his six years at the restaurant, working both Summerlicious and Winterlicious. It’s also what many more chefs throughout the city will be going through from July 3 to 19 during this year’s Summerlicious. Though the chefs will be working long hours, it’s all in the name of affordable, good quality food. Summerlicious gives the budget-conscious diner a chance to dine like the rich without breaking the bank, as some of Toronto’s top restaurants open their doors to offer an affordable three-course meal. In its seventh consecutive year there are 150 participating restaurants throughout the GTA offering a three-course prix fixe menu giving diners a plethora of choice. The lunches range from $15 to $30 and the dinners from $25 to $45, before tax and tip. But what may be a diner’s delight could be a chef ’s nightmare. It’s Saturday morning just before ten o’clock and Murie has already opened the doors to the Dizzy Gastro Sports Pub he owns with his brother. He shuffles around talking to the staff and making coffee for the early morning sports fans there to watch the soccer match. A self-taught chef and a veteran in the restaurant business — Murie began working in kitchens at the age of 13 — Murie understands the importance of customer satisfaction. While his restaurant, the Dizzy on Roncesvalles, isn’t participating in Summerlicious, he still recalls his previous experiences cooking for crowds of eager diners during the summer food festival at the restaurant Boho. “I just think that it’s become too much of a cheap meal. Working one, you basically have to turn and burn,” says Murie. “You are getting people in and out. So you have an hour and half to sit down, enjoy your dinner and get out because we have to bring in the next group of people. So when you’re doing it in a 40-seat restaurant, you’re doing 120 to 150 people a night. To sum it all up, it’s controlled chaos.” While Murie is grateful his Summerlicious days are behind him, he still thinks the idea behind Summerlicious is great. “What you’re doing is you’re bringing out people at a time of year when restaurants are typically quiet,” says Murie. It allows participating restaurants to generate extra revenue and hopefully gain some new clientele during the slow summer months when people are
more apt to be travelling. However, Murie says 95 to 98 per cent of the customers who came out for Summerlicious never returned. Summerlicious was started in 2003, the same year the SARS outbreak crippled the hospitality and tourism industry in the city. It was created as a way to kick-start the restaurant industry and get people out again. “Both Summerlicious and Winterlicious are amazing programs that promote Toronto’s unique hospitality industry. They showcase Toronto’s diverse cuisine and profile our restaurants,” says Eirine Papaioannou, partnership supervisor of special events for the City of Toronto. “They also offer an amazing incentive to consumers to go out and dine and experience great food at great prices.” It started with 36 restaurants and has since grown to 150, and Papaioannou — who has been in charge of the promotion for all seven years — says the plan is to continue growing. An economic impact study shows the promotion generates about $9.4 million of financial activity. Five time Liciousgoer, 24-year-old Matt Romaschin says due to affordability “you get to eat at restaurants you wouldn’t normally choose,” and he looks forward to Summerlicious every year. Chef of eight years, Conor Joerin, who has worked a total of four ‘Liciouses, admits he is not fond of the experience, but he realizes its advantages. “I thought it was kind of cool for maybe younger people who were interested in restaurants,” says Joerin. “It gave them a chance to get out and go to a restaurant they couldn’t usually afford to eat at.” Having said that, Joerin is happy his current place of employment, Gio Rana’s Really, Really Nice Restaurant — or Gio’s, on Queen Street East, east of Greenwood Avenue — is not participating. For Joerin this directly reflects the quality of the food and the restaurant. He views the ‘Licious as a cheap and tacky marketing ploy and he believes a restaurant’s reputation should speak for itself. The general consensus among those who work in the restaurant industry is that Summerlicious is no walk in the park. Lamine Martingale has been a server for three years and has worked five ‘Liciouses. He says, while the restaurant may be busier, the cheque averages are lower and thus the tips are lower. Ultimately, he says, it’s doing double the work for half the money. As well, since the majority of people are there for a cheap meal, most aren’t ordering extras, like drinks. “It’s really stressful; it’s really busy,” says Martingale. “I’ve worked it where it’s just like ‘Oh my god, like fire me for the period of this.’” He says customers can get very demanding during Summerlicious and some have unreasonable expectations from the servers. Romaschin admits when he goes out for Summerlicious he normally goes only for the prix fixe
“To sum it all up, it’s controlled chaos.” - Scott Murie, former Boho chef
Photos: Jennifer Gordon
YYZ4FOOD AND DRINK
menu. “It’s really good quality food,” says Romaschin, “stuff you wouldn’t eat regularly.” But when it comes to the quality of the food, the chefs have a few confessions of their own. The chefs say with Summerlicious menus, the best plan of attack is to keep your food cost down and your menu simple. “You’re sneaking cheap product onto your menu,” says Joerin. “You’re not giving the most expensive cuts of meat or you know you’re not going to put halibut on your menu; you’re going to give them the salmon.” And he says when you’re slammed in a restaurant— like you would be during Summerlicious—it’s next to impossible to pay attention to every little detail. And Murie agrees. “You do your best to produce that menu, but you’re not focusing on putting that love and that care into every single dish. You just can’t. When you work in a kitchen and you’re doing 120 covers and there’s three people working the line, how much care can actually go into those dishes when you’re doing that many covers? The love isn’t going into it, like it should.”
Murie says his strategy when creating Boho’s Summerlicious menu was to “make it simple. Make it easy, where you can hammer out as many meals as possible during service.” While Summerlicious can get chaotic and stressful for the chefs, there is a silver lining. For Joerin, it was when it ended. For Murie, it was the adrenaline rush of feeding nearly 150 customers—with the three courses that’s close to 450 plates—in a five hour dinner service. Restaurants wanting to participate in Summerlicious have to submit an application, which is reviewed by a 15 member advisory board made up of industry professionals. Eligible restaurants must demonstrate value to the consumer, have a green pass from the Toronto health board and be an existing restaurant within the city of Toronto, says Papaioannou. “Everybody who’s eligible has to RSVP on a first come first serve basis to fill the number of spots we have available.” While there are only 150 spots to fill, there are usually about 250 eligible applications. But, Papaioannou says they are okay with spin-off events as “imitation is a form of flattery.”
Last year during Summerlicious, Murie created Roncie-licious (his restaurant is located on Roncesvalles Avenue in Toronto’s west end) and he plans on doing it again this year. “We got 18 to 20 restaurants on the street together and we all offered something as a special. For us it worked. We offered our steak for $13,” says Murie. “So we sold a lot of steak for a two week period. It was great.” Joerin says Gio’s always offers an unadvertised chef ’s choice promotion. “It’s a chef ’s choice,” says Joerin. “It’s leaving it in the chef ’s hands and it’s allowing the guys in the kitchen to be creative and change every night, as opposed to having this pre-fabricated menu and just pumping the same Summerlicious menu out every night.” With memories of Summerlicious still fresh in his mind, Murie is happy to be running his own restaurant now, where he is also a cook. While the hours are still long, Murie is one chef who will not be working 18 to 20 hour days this Summerlicious. For a complete list of participating Summerlicious restaurants and their menus you can go to www.toronto.ca YYZ
YYZ4FOOD AND DRINK
Restaurant Etiquette For Summerlicious Make Reservations While some places may accept walk-ins, to guarantee your spot at that ever so sought after restaurant, a reservation is a good idea. Romaschin says, “all of the places I’ve been to pretty much say you have to reserve because they fill up very quickly.” And Murie says when he was at Boho, there was no room for walk-ins.
Be on time
“Showing up late is the worst,” says Murie. As many participating restaurants have tables reserved back to back, diners are only allotted a certain amount of time—at Boho an average of an hour and a half. “If somebody had a reservation at five and they showed up at quarter to six, they still only have until 6:30,” says Murie. “Eat and get out.”
Understand you’re not the only table
While during regular service the servers may be happy to run through the menu, wine list, history of the restaurant and whatever else you want to know, during Summerlicious this may not be the case. “Not to say just because you are busy customers should be neglected,” says Martingale, but just think of your busiest day at work.
Photo: Leslie Wilks
Tipping goes a long way Martingale describes Summerlicious as working twice as hard for a fraction of the pay. In many restaurants servers are being paid less than minimum, meaning server’s tips are their livelihood. On average people should tip 10 to 20 per cent on their bills, and maybe a little extra for the reduced prices.
Don’t bring your own food
This should go without saying, but Martingale says he’s seen some pretty crazy things in his years serving. “I’ve had a customer pull out a can of tuna,” says Martingale. Think of it this way: you wouldn’t bring your own alcohol into a club unless you wanted to get kicked out, so leave the canned goods at home. *** While ordering extras such as bottles of wine or drinks isn’t mandatory, it is appreciated. It may even result in better service as it brings up your cheque average and in a server’s eyes, hopefully your tip. (See #4)
Eglinton Ave. W.
Avenue Pub a. Madison 14 Madison Ave. 416.927.1722 madisonavenuepub.com
As the temperature rises, spend a sunny afternoon or a warm night, on one of the many patios located in downtown Toronto. Whether you’re in search of an afternoon coffee, a cold beer, or dinner al fresco, there’s something for everyone. YYZ’s patio guide highlights 10 of Toronto’s patios that have been chosen based on unique features, reasonable prices, location, and service. Check out the following locations and take advantage of the great outdoor spaces and the summer heat while you can.
Black Bull Tavern
298 Queen St. West 416.593.2766
- Text and photos by Amy Shields Queensway
c. Futures Bakery & Cafe 483 Bloor St. W. 416.922.5875
Close to the University of Toronto, and in the trendy Annex area on Bloor Street West — between Bathurst Street and Spadina Avenue — you’ll find Futures Bakery: a favourite among university and college students. Whether you want to stop in for brunch, grab a hot bowl of borscht on a rainy day, or have a bite for dinner, there’s a variety of food to choose from. If you would rather just sit down for coffee, or have a cold beer with friends, this fully licensed eatery is versatile and has a large street-side patio to enjoy. Futures Bakery & Café is open from 7:30 a.m. to 2:00 a.m, seven days a week.
Open since 1976, The Black Bull Tavern is one of the busiest and most in-demand patios on the strip of Queen Street West between University and Spadina Avenue. This west-facing patio is exposed to sunlight all day, making this patio perfect for people watching. Bar food, a decent selection of beer, and friendly service, keep patio-goers coming back for more. But beware, at peak hours it’s very likely one could wait for up to an hour for a table. The Black Bull is open from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. seven days a week. Dufferin St.
The Sun YYZ’s
This internationally known venue is three Victorian homes transformed into one huge location featuring six individual pubs and 12 bars — five of which are located on each of the five patios at various levels — and a selection of 150 beers on tap. Close to the University of Toronto and the Spadina subway station the Maddy, as it’s better known, is a staple among the 21 to 26 year-old St. Clair A crowd. Get there early to avoid line-ups. An age restriction (21+) is in effect Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights after 9:00 p.m.
2 km Second Cup 652 Queen St. W. 416.703.9124 secondcup.com
This specific location is in the heart of Queen Street West shopping. Across the street from MuchMusic, close to the CN Tower, and other tourist attractions in the city, this street-side patio is a great place to people watch or just take a break from shopping. Second Cup offers an assortment of flavoured coffee, tea, cold drinks, and baked goods to ease a growling stomach. Open seven days a week from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Java House 537 Queen St. W. 416.504.3025
Java House is a well-kept secret not far from the hustle of the Queen Street West shopping strip. Don’t let the name fool you. They do offer coffee, but the big draw here is the selection of reasonably priced Thai and Vietnamese dishes. Its large street-side patio is great for an afternoon with friends, sipping on sangria, or ordering up a cheap pitcher of beer ($11.75 domestic) while avoiding the noise and congestion found just a few blocks east. Be forewarned, the service here can be slow, but with great food and prices like this there’s not much else to complain about.
DVP Moonbean Coffee Company
30 St. Andrews St. 416.5950327 moonbeancoffee.com
Located in Toronto’s eclectic Kensington Market, Moonbean offers a variety of loose-leaf tea, both fair trade and gourmet coffee and delicious cappuccino shakes. There is also a selection of snacks from samosas to bagels. Featuring both front and back patios, there is plenty of room to have a rest while strolling through Kensington, or meeting friends to spend a few hours on a warm summer afternoon. Moonbean is open from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. seven days a week. Ask them about their diverse selection of beans and their fair trade coffee.
The Pilot Tavern
22 Cumberland St. 416.923.5716 the pilot.ca
College St. W.
Bloor St. W.
Dundas St. W.
Originally established in 1944 and in its present location since 1972, this Yorkville tavern has a spectacular roof-top patio, better known as “The Flight Deck”. Clean lines, a brushed steel bar, and similar tables and chairs play-up the name and fit well with the upscale clientele of the area. That being said, you don’t need to spend a fortune to have an excellent night of great music and a relaxed atmosphere. Ladies: beware the four flights of stairs, especially if wearing heels.
h. Jack Astor’s
Bar & Gril (Toronto Life Sq.) 10 Dundas St. E 416.263.9800 jackastors.com
Queen St. W.
S EXPRE R E N I ARD
King St. W.
Paupers Pub & Restaurant 539 Bloor St. W. 416.530.1331 pauperspub.com
Take your pick of patios here, with Paupers Sidewalk Café on street level or Paupers’ rooftop patio but before you do, make sure you take a peek at the main floor. Prior to being transformed into a pub, Paupers was a bank and to this day, has many of the original pillars inside. The Sidewalk Café is a perfect place to meet friends or for a quick drop-in, and the rooftop patio is great for an unobstructed view of the skyline at night. You’ll find 16 kinds of beer on tap, reasonably priced food, and great service, even when it is busy. Paupers is open from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. all year.
Starbucks Coffee Co. 250 Queen St. W. 416.5955868 starbucks.ca
One of four Jack Astor’s Restaurants in downtown Toronto, the view from the fourth floor patio here is a definite draw, not to mention the unique mist machines added to help keep you cool on a sweltering summer day. The patio also features areas for groups of people to gather with tables and chairs that sit lower to the ground, giving off a “lounge” feel. Reservations are not accepted for the patio but if you choose to wait for that sought after spot, the atmosphere inside is just as exciting. Jack Astor’s is open from Sunday to Thursday 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m., Friday and Saturday 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m.
In friendly competition with Second Cup, this Starbucks location is also in the heart of Queen Street West, and across the street from MuchMusic. Quite often, the line will be out the door, but spend just $2.00 on a coffee or grab an iced drink, and you can stay as long as you like. As the summer moves along you may even catch a glimpse of various celebrities as they visit the MuchMusic headquarters. Starbucks is open from 5:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Monday to Thursday, and 6:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. Friday and Saturday, and is closed Sundays. YYZ
Photo Amy Shields
Photo Christian Martinez
Photo Christian Martinez
OFF-SEASON with the BLAKES When the uniforms come off for the last time in the season, Jason Blake spends time with his family, and prepares for hockeyâ€™s return. By Jessie Coletti-Greco
oronto Maple Leaf player, Jason Blake, 35, admits that his summers as an NHL hockey player are slightly different than when he was a kid living in Moorhead, Minnesota. “When I was growing up, there were two things to do in our town . . . play hockey and play golf. I would start my summer league for hockey and I was in camp all summer for it,” he says. Blake is quite the family man and is father to three children: Lauren (8), Jackson (5) and Annabelle (2).Hockey no longer takes priority during this time of the year, and is hardly incorporated into his life at all for these few months. “I spend more time with my teammates during the year than I do with my family. So once the season is over, I separate myself totally from hockey.” He even confesses to not watching the playoffs if the Leafs are not partaking. “The only time I watch is the Stanley Cup finals,” he states. The Blake family was hit with some serious news in October 2007. Diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia, Jason was not deterred, and continued to play every game. His determination and perseverance earned him the 2008 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy. Canadian Cancer Society’s manager of prevention for Ontario, Gillian Bromfield, says Blake is a great role model in the community and shows others that cancer does not have to be the end of the line. “He’s been an inspiration because he’s kept living his life and living it really well,” she says. This rare type of cancer is very treatable and should not keep Jason from living a very long and full life.” According to Sara, during the season, family life revolves around his game schedule, but that having the summer off is a great bonus that most working families don’t have. She also explains that although they spend a lot of time together, both during the season and during the down time,
What is your favourite word? Yes
What is your least favourite word? No
What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? My wife – she’s the backbone of my whole career. What turns you off creatively, spiritually or emotionally? When people argue with me, when I know I’m right.
where with other kids. There’s a pool, tennis courts, so I mean we are always busy,” says Blake. Both he and Sara love to watch their oldest two children take part in their summer activities, which include, soccer, swim team, golf, tennis, baseball and camps. Even little Annabelle, or Belle as her parents and siblings call her, can be found out by the pool everyday with daddy. “We pretty much stick close to home, playing street hockey on the driveway, biking together, heading to the park, going to get ice cream. It’s all pretty normal stuff,” Sara says. They also head up to their cottage getaway in northern Minnesota at least four times throughout the summer. “But one year I’d love to pack up and take the whole family to Greece for a month or so,” says Sara. Jason agrees and adds, “My ultimate vacation would be to go to Africa. I’d probably go with guys though . . . go on a safari or something.” Although Blake takes the summer off, he still stays in shape. “As soon as the season is over I take three weeks Photo Courtsy Amy Shields off to relax and then I start working Blake enjoys family time at home with kids Jackson, out.” He sticks to a very stringent exAnnabelle, Lauren, and wife Sara. ercise and nutritional schedule to make the main difference is Jason’s energy level. sure training camp is not too difficult. “As you can imagine, in Jason’s profes- “Our league is so competitive that, I’d sion, the physical demands are great. Every say back 15 years, players used to use day needs some rest time incorporated into (the time off ) as a tool to get in shape, it. The kids sometimes get frustrated and but now you don’t really have an option. ask why we spend so much time at home, You have to keep in shape all summer and why dad needs to ‘lay on the couch’ long.” so much, but they’ve grown up with it, so Jason explains that no amount of dry it seems as normal as him coming home land training can compare to actually with stitches or a black eye.” being on the ice, and he puts more conAfter the season has ended, the entire centration into training in the rinks. Blake family packs up every year and moves “There are a lot of guys that skate in the to Minnesota for the summer, where most summer too. I just don’t feel the need. of their friends and family reside. “We live You know it’s such a long season, so it’s in a little gated golf community in Min- nice to get away from the game. I think neapolis so I play golf probably five times in anything you do, in my opinion, you a week and it’s great because its all gated need to get away to re-energize yourself so the kids are out running around every- and get that hunger back.” YYZ
Q&A with Jason Blake What sound or noise do you love? My kids’ voices
What sound or noise do you hate? My wife’s voice (joking!)
What is your favourite curse word? Fuck (but because the kids were around he said “the ‘F’ word”)
What Profession other than your own would you not like to attempt? Anything that would involve jumping out of a plane, because I’m so scared of heights. When I’m at a hotel and my room is on the fifth floor or higher, I will not go on the balcony. If you were reincarnated as some other plant or animal, what would it be? A lion – King of the jungle
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? He’s finally here, we can get started!
LOST NEGOTIAT 18
Photo: Jennifer Gordon
For nearly three months, 50,000 students attending York University waited in limbo, caught in a labour dispute between their school and it’s part-time faculty. For some, the strike has effectively ruined summer vacation. Others question York’s credibility as an educational institution. By Miguel Agawin
e aspired to deal with world issues through diplomacy, though at one point with a rifle in his hands; and she, to be a primary school teacher. But for students Rustam Dow and Barbara Paraskevakos, the record-breaking strike at York University has rattled and disrupted their goals. They are two students, among thousands, affected by the longest strike in an English-speaking university in Canada, from Nov. 6, 2008 to Jan. 29, 2009. The workers of the Canadian Union of Public Employees local 3903 (York University’s part-time faculty union consisting of teaching assistants, part-time professors and graduate & research assistants) were demanding wages and job security that York University wouldn’t provide. For Paraskevakos, in her second year for her Bachelor of Education, 2009 will be a full year of school, as she will only have a week off at the end of August. Paraskevakos says the program is extremely competitive and to ease her workload, she chose to take some of the required courses in the summer months. Had the strike never occurred, she would have at least had a month off. “I know we had a three-month break but you can’t enjoy a time like that, where you are held hostage and can’t plan a week ahead,” she says. Having no time away from school will not only affect her mentally and emotionally, but financially as well, says Paraskevakos. “A summer job is impossible. Tuition for next year is a worry.” Dow, a final-year international studies student, is looking to graduate this year, and although classes will extend into the summer, he says he simply won’t let it get in the way of his life. For him, the 85-day strike changed his view of York University, one he now equates to the flaw he sees in “today’s military – not always acting on the interest of justice and the people,” but is dominated by politics, he says. Dow says the strike made him question his attitude towards York University as an educational institution, and the program he is enrolled in. Dow says he is dispirited by how political both of them are. None of these things are new, says Dow. He says for him, the 12 weeks off simply gave him a chance clear his head and reflect on the idea that actual human relations are the key to dealing with world issues. “I wasn’t being dictated to by the school as an institution; the military as an institution; my work as an institution. I was pretty much me for once. And I don’t attribute any of that
Rustam Dow in the dark and empty Glendon Hall at York’s Glendon campus during the last days of the strike.
to York. If anything, it’s because I was distanced from them that I was able to think like that. Before attending York, Dow lived in Ottawa, where he was born and raised. International issues interested him as a child and, eventually, war and conflict stood out – because of how it involved human suffering, injustice and the loss of lives, he says. Dow considered becoming an officer in the military and was training for the army reserve last summer, but now he says he no longer sees this duty to be as noble as he presumed. Dow graduated high school with substandard grades and was working “dead-end jobs in restaurants, living cheque-to-cheque.” Eventually, Dow took his father’s advice to move in with him in Toronto, where Dow decided to take a university-transfer program at Seneca at York (Seneca College at York University’s Keele campus), which to this day he commends as a better learning experience than international studies. Prospective students uneasiness is apparant with undergraduate applications for York University down 11.3 per cent from February 2008 to February 2009, according to the Ontario University Application Centre. Paraskevakos says she wouldn’t apply to York as a new student if she knew of its history of strikes. “For some people, it’s the second strike, which would just infuriate me,” she says. “It just seems silly to be so greedy in a time [when] there are people losing jobs.”
Paraskevakos’s mother, Ilona, says the strike has drastically affected Barbara’s motivation and her daughter’s trust in the institution. Ilona says she is disappointed CUPE and York University only met 11 times during the strike that lasted almost three months, making it clear there was never any realistic hope of coming to an agreement.
“A summer job is impossible. Tuition is a worry.” - Barbara Paraskevakos, York student
“I have always taught my children that there is no man made problem that cannot be solved through negotiation and with patience. It is very sad to see that I might have been wrong.” Dow says he doesn’t have much to say about CUPE except that he is skeptical of unions. Tyler Shipley, the spokesperson for CUPE local 3903, says there is a misconception in the public’s view on the teaching assistants’ complaints over wages. “There’s a broad misunderstanding out there [of ] the nature of what grad work is,” says Shipley, who is also a teaching assistant at York Uni-
Photo: Jennifer Gordon
versity. He says his position is often mistaken for an apprenticeship, one that promises a rewarding career, but apparently does not deliver. According to Shipley, the income of teaching assistants is not sustainable for living because it falls beneath the inflation rate, which is essentially the cost of living. This makes their financial situation worse, says Shipley, if debt from prior school fees remains. If this is the case for graduate students, the future for higher education will exist only for those who are wealthy and don’t require financial aid. Shipley says York has a reputation for being a place where efforts are made to create a more socially diverse campus, “and for York to be leading the charge in undercutting the ability of people with modest means to get an education, it’s especially frightening.” Originally, the union was seeking a two-year contract with a wage increase of seven per cent in the first year, and four or the rate of inflation, whichever is more, for the second. By January, the union was willing to accept the 9.25 per cent wage increase over three years proposed by York University with the exception of job security. The union still sought for contract professors to get longer-term contracts, rather than having to renew their contract with each term they teach. “It’s completely absurd,” says Shipley. “They’re obviously qualified, so stop putting them through this process where each year they have to fire off applications and hope that some of them come through.”
With 11 meetings, which involved a mediator appointed by the province, both parties failed to negotiate a compromise, and time had been edging to the point of cancelling the academic year. Public pressure built as students waited in limbo. CUPE was bashed in thousands of Facebook groups. The union was eventually legislated back to work by the Ontario government.
cess. Although the institution is responsible for its own labour relations, the Ontario government, given the impasse reached, had to act on behalf of the students at risk of their year being cancelled, says Blazina. “It is important that academic standards remain high and the government is just pleased the students are back,” she says. Dow says he would still consider taking an-
Shipley speculates, had the province not intervened, York would have been forced to negotiate because it would not have risked cancelling the year, which he says would have cost the school 37 per cent of its operating budget. “This was [York’s] strategy from the beginning and it’s one that unfortunately the provincial government fell into,” says Shipley. “York basically got a get-out-of-jail-free card.” In retrospect, Shipley says he wishes he had more resources to maintain a better public image, especially to the students. “But that’s the whole point . . . we don’t have any money,” says Shipley. York University was not available to comment but spokesperson for the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities Tanya Blazina, says the ministry has no direct involvement with the collective bargaining pro-
other course at York, possibly a master’s degree in international studies, but is looking into pursuing volunteer work. He says politics are vain — “you can talk about solutions, but I’d rather get my hands dirty.” The strike did not discourage Paraskevakos from her goals. She says, despite wanting to be a teacher one day, she doesn’t relate to the problems TAs face because she’s not attracted to their working environment. She understands how teaching assistants don’t get paid enough for the amount of work they do, but “they should know what they’re getting into,” she says. And although the only break she’ll have, really, was the strike, she remains strong for the obstacles ahead. “Sometimes it’s hard with so many factors working against you,” says Paraskevakos. “But what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” YYZ
Photo courtesy Barbara Paraskevakos Paraskevakos first fell in love with teaching after graduating high school and travelling to Peru, where she taught a class of students in grade three and four. “From that point on,” she says, “I just knew I wanted to be a teacher.”
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Ill Scarlett performs at one of the many stages at Warped Tour 2008.
Warped Tour: Warped Tour By Jen Gordon
The Vans Warped Tour crosses North American cities every summer, introducing its punk rock vibes and fast-paced extreme sports to suburban youth. Toronto is no stranger to Warped’s loud music, sweaty kids and overpriced bottled water. This tour is unlike any other, showcasing roughly 100 bands over 12 stages in the course of a nine-hour day. You can catch a guitar solo, hear a rapper spitting a new beat and slam dance to a hardcore band. With such an eclectic mix of things to do and see, the Warped Tour is a must for any Toronto music fan this summer. The tour was founded in 1994 by Kevin Lyman. Picture a healthy Tom Arnold in board shorts and Oakley sunglasses. Lyman came up with the idea for the punk-infused tour after, “working many years as a stage manager in Southern California.” The general vibe of the concert is created to “feel more like a big backyard party than a big rock concert.” And for Lyman, “the idea of taking it out on the road was a way to hang out with friends.” Lyman has received plenty of criticism for introducing corporate sponsorship to the tour throughout the years, with his main sponsor being Vans, the popular skateboarding shoe company. Lyman defends the sponsorship and says, “We try to work with companies that the kids are using anyways, if it’ll keep the ticket price down, I don’t have a problem with that.” Lyman has noticed a decrease in Canadian fans, and says it is a priority to introduce a cheaper ticket price. “I want to keep it at
Rocking youth since 1994
a $40 all-in ticket. We decided to take less money as a tour, to try and get more kids out,” he says. Lyman is an active participant on the tour and can often be seen driving around on a golf cart making sure the show is running as smoothly as possible. “A lot of the people who are coming to Warped Tour are people
“We’re all here at Warped Tour... for the love of music” - Katie Clark, Underground Operations
coming to a large event for the first time. There are kids who are discovering music,” he says. And because of that, Lyman makes it his priority to make sure he is at every show during the summer. Knowing that the tour caters to a lot of young people, Warped offers the Reverse Day Care Centre. “This is a place where parents who aren’t comfortable letting their kids go to a show on their own can hang out and then decide they can go on their own the next year,” says Lyman. Katie Clark, general manager of the Toronto-based record label, Underground Operations, believes the reason the tour is so successful is because of the variety of people that come out, attracting everyone
Photo: Jennifer Gordon
from skaters to hardcore music lovers to eager festivalgoers. Underground Operations is home to local bands like Protest the Hero, Bombs Over Providence, and Hostage Life, who have all played the Warped Tour. Clark was able to experience Warped first-hand when she did press and promotions for Bombs Over Providence during their Canadian dates in 2005. She says the tour is helpful to the label because it, “allows us to reach out to a wide variety of people all in one place. We’re able to come together in the one general thing we have in common: we’re all here at Warped Tour because we love being outside and . . . for the love of music.” Lyman is also focusing on making the tour eco-friendly. “We use biodiesel trucks on the tour, a recycling program, we offer an ecoadventure to kids who participate in our recycling program, we have a complete solar stage, and we’re using biodegradable plates and utensils. [Although] we’re not perfect, we are trying to make a difference.” Lyman says the great part of the tour is that, “you come to see five bands that you like, and you leave having discovered six that you love” Lyman and Clark have tips on surviving the day, “bottled water, a camera and a plan of the bands you want to check out,” but Clark said, “don’t get bummed when you miss one band, because guaranteed you saw another one you loved” Warped Tour hits Toronto on July 10th. For more ticket and concert information, check out www.warpedtour.com. YYZ
Photo Coutesy Ian Stuart
Anime North ’09: Nerds Unite! S 12th Annual Convention is drawing freaks and geeks from all over Ontario By Alina Sotula
ailor Moon never thought she’d find herself in this predicament. She shivers at the sound of electrical currents running through the body of her deadly opponent, Pikachu the Pokémon. The horror of the situation is that it isn’t some demented fantasy. This epic duel is real: at this year’s Anime North anyway. It seems that all things Japanese, like the countless horror movies that inspired equally countless Hollywood remakes, just sprung up like Godzilla once did on the city of Tokyo. And yet, Japanese animation, or anime, has been available to Canadian audiences for decades, but has been growing in popularity ever since. “Anime North started in 1996 after a number of members at local anime screenings wanted to arrange an event that could bring everyone together from the various screenings and groups, along with the general public together in one place and [so] in 1997 a one day mini-con was held,” says Ben Gusz, the convention’s media director. “The event was so successful that there was a large amount of interest in repeating the same type of event next year, and the next and the next… 600 local enthusiasts organized the first Anime North 12 years ago, as an event “. . . run by fans for fans to get together and share discussions and interest in all things anime-related.” The convention has grown significantly since then. “We are expecting roughly 15,000 people though with a modest growth we could push 16,000 or more,” Gusz says. So what can one expect from the convention? Ouran High School Host Club characters visit Anime North ‘08.
“It’s basically one big room full of lots for anime, sci-fi, manga [Japanese comics that are usually source material for anime] and the back wall is the artists’ wall.” According to Gusz, Anime North fills three venues: a couple of halls in the Toronto Congress Centre, and all the available function space in the Doubletree International Hotel and the Renaissance Toronto Airport Hotel. “We have a wrestling ring brought in for popular matchups – think Street Fighter vs. Dragon Ball or Sailor Moon vs. Pokémon.” One of the most interesting aspects of the convention are the costumes. Various online forums are currently filled with pleas for help to find a costume of this anime character or that and ads for people willing to make those costumes for others for a commission. Cosplay – short for “costume play” – allows people to dress up as their favorite anime character and is both the convention’s main attraction and repellant. Tina Nocera, a regular Anime North attendee loves the costume aspect of the convention. “Sometimes they have people dress up as their favorite anime character and they have duels. Before, they had actors and actresses. The original Hulk was there, William Shatner used to be there every year but nobody likes him anymore.” Of course, it isn’t necessary to dress up as anything other than your usual boring self if you wish to attend. “Dressing up as a character is highly optional. Some do and some don’t. In general most of the costumes revolve around the current trends in TV or fan subs [free anime translated by fans for other fans]. We try to cater to as many genres as possible from the classics to the newest releases,” Gusz says. This year’s convention events includes several guests appearances by voice actors and actresses, such as Jessie Flower (Avatar: The Last Airbender) and Mark Hildreth (Dragon Ball Z, Mobile Suit Gundam Wing), video screenings, Anime Music Video contests, karaoke, a dance, Cosplay Hall, and art show and lots more. Anime North will be held from May 22 to May 24 at the Toronto Congress Centre. Daily admission is $35 or $55 for a weekend pass. The rates of nearby hotels and other useful information can be found at the conventions websites at http://www. animenorth.com. YYZ
Finding a costume shouldn’t be a chore. Check out these great places:
1. eBay: anything from wigs to accessories can be found at the website, whether you’re looking for a ninjaesque Chinese star or a gothic Misa from “Death Note”-inspired underskirt. The perk: Items can be arranged according to price. www.ebay.ca
2. Malabar Costume Shop (14 McCaul Street). Located in a trendy downtown area, Malabar carries a wide variety of costumes, wigs, face and body paints and more. The perk: costumes can be rented and the store has an online catalogue for all the couch potatoes out there willing to dish out an extra $15 for mail delivery. http://www. malabar.net/
3. Ms. Dress-Up Party Store. An online store, with a Dundas Street office, features costumes ranging from Spiderman to a Pretty Princess dress. The perk: a currency converter, a handy size chart, and a 24-hour telephone service. http://www.msdress-up.com/ 4. Theatrix Costume House. This is the place to go for custom-made garments. The perk: those who wish to use the House’s services can send in sketches or photographs of their dream costume. http://www.theatrixcostumehouse.com/ 5. Cosplay Magic. This web store caters specifically to cosplayers with a huge selection of anime cosplay costumes and accessories. The perk: free shipping. http://www.cosplaymagic. com/
Photo Coutesy Agnes Niewiadomski
Photos: Courtesy of Pride
With Toronto’s Pride festival reaching its 29th year, gays stop to reflect just how far they’ve come. By Nicole McIsaac
ne week a year isn’t enough. Drew Thomas, aged 21, lives Pride all year long. “Fuck Pride, I’ll be gay whenever I want,” he says. That is the true spirit of Pride, and the reason that so many organizations and groups fight to prevent intolerance. When he was 14, Thomas told his
older sister he was gay. As her eyes lit up, she grabbed his hands and announced they could go shopping and boy watching together. These aspects are stereotypical and, Thomas admits, sometimes-true characteristics of what it means to be a gay man. But for him and thousands of people, the word Pride is to be taken quite
literally: to be proud of who, and what, you are. This year, Pride Toronto’s festivities span 10 days, beginning on Friday, June 19 and culminating on Sunday, June 28 with one of Canada’s largest street festivals. Last year, more than a million people attended. Pride Toronto will celebrate its 29th birthday this year with
parties, rallies and fundraisers, in hopes for a similar turnout. Some may say that this generation of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders (LGBT) are experiencing more acceptance now than ever before. Gay marriage is legally accepted in Canada and in some parts of the United States. Toronto, and other major metropolitan cities, have entire LGBT neighbourhoods devoted just to them. While Thomas says that Pride is the one time of the year that he can celebrate who he is, he also concedes that he takes it for granted. “Older people celebrate it for political reasons, but for young people it’s more of a party,” he says. This sentiment is echoed by Luke Eluesiniotis, 22, who says that he actually can’t stand the Pride celebrations. “It’s a chance to showcase those things that people give us a hard time for, like dressing up like women and promiscuity.” Eluesiniotis says he sees Pride not as an event to show his pride or take back his rights, but as a giant street party. These thoughts are the kinds of things that Tracey Sandilands, executive director for Pride Toronto, the organization behind the preparation of all Pride festivities, is hoping to counteract. “Over the last few years there seems to be a loss of memory around how it started and its purpose,” says Sandilands, “it’s a loss of awareness.” Shaun Proulx, star of the Shaun Proulx show on OUTtv and Proud FM, says that he feels he is accountable to pass on the reasons for Pride down to newer generations so that this loss of memory doesn’t take place. “I always feel obligated to remind young people that Pride couldn’t even happen if people before me hadn’t done something to make it happen.”
Thomas agrees. “It’s good to have that one day that everyone can just come together and celebrate and feel safe, because other days of the year I don’t really feel that safe being crazy and myself,” pointing out that Toronto still has a long way to go to stop discrimination. “In certain situations there are people who still aren’t accepting of the homos. Sometimes you have to tone it down or else you’ll get beat up.”
“Pride couldn’t even happen if people before me hadn’t done something.” Shaun Proulx, OUTtv Host That’s where this year’s Pride theme, “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop,” comes in. The message is that gays in Toronto will never stop fighting. “The queer community has absorbed blows and they will continue to do so. It doesn’t matter what they throw at us, we’re not going away,” says Sandilands. “We won’t stop fighting until everybody has equal rights.” Pride Toronto has organized travel packages in conjunction with Tourism Toronto to bring people to the city for not only the week’s festivities, but to stay for Canada Day and the women’s golf tournament. “It’s important that gays from around the country can come to Pride to celebrate who they are,” explains Sandilands.
Proulx admits that Pride can be a gigantic party, with places like The Docks and local bars capitalizing on the event with functions geared to those who like to party late into the night. “Pride is what you make it,” he says, mentioning what he eagerly anticipates for Pride isn’t an actual event, but the Christmasspirit-like vibe. “Just for a few days you get a lot of harmony, harmony between the straight community and the gay community, and harmony within the community. On those days the vibe is really special and I look forward to that every year.” It may be hard for Eluesiniotis to feel that special vibe though when he can’t help but be annoyed by the throngs of people, and the thong-clad people. “Pride has become incredibly corporate. It’s all about the money,” he says, describing how turned off he was by the men walking around all day in green thongs that simply said TD. TD Bank is one of Pride’s biggest corporate sponsors, along with Pepsi, Labatts and media outlets such as Now Magazine, CP24 and CTV. Their contributions help to keep Pride Toronto sanctioned events free by meeting the $3 million dollar budget, as well as providing products and ser vices to the event. CP24 and CTV will be broadcasting the parade live this year. These contributions are also important to the city, as the parade brings in an estimated $90 million in economic value. While Thomas, Eluesiniotis and Proulx all have different views on what Pride means to them, what they all have in common is the importance of showing their pride all year long. These three men exemplify this year’s theme, “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop,” and live without fear of being who they are. YYZ
What would Pride be without a handy guide to getting around? Here is a practical list of websites that have everything from the best bars to visit during Pride Weekend to the best spot to watch the parade.
The official website for Pride and the best place to go for detailed maps and listings of official events and parties.
One of Pride’s media sponsors and Toronto’s alternative news source will tell you which bar to be at Saturday night and which corner to watch the parade from on Sunday Morning.
Listen to the Shaun Proulx show weekdays from 3-7p.m. and keep up to date on events and activities happening during Pride week, and year-round.
...get a beach body at home How can you look b etter than ever this summer and not break your bank account? By Erica Cassar
Photo: Erica Cassar
on’t think you need to spend tons of money on an expensive gym membership. You can actually begin to look and feel great from the comfort of your own home, while spending little to no money at all. STOMACH: A lot of people carry excess weight in this area which is challenging for most because the lower abdomen is a hard area to tone up. A familiar exercise, that most know how to do and can be done from the comfort of your own home is crunches. “To start, lie flat on the floor and then bend your knees to a 45 degree angle while keeping your feet about hip width apart” says Renee DeConcilys, a personal trainer in North York. DeConcilys has been a personal trainer for nearly five years in the GTA. “Place your hands on either side of your head and when you’re ready raise your shoulders off the ground. Using your stomach muscles bend upwards then return to the starting position.” Remember, if you can’t feel the muscles in your stomach working after the first couple of crunches, then you’re probably doing the exercise wrong, so try again.” Beginners should do three sets of 20, while breaking for 30 seconds in between each rep. When you become more advanced, eventually work your way up to three sets of 30 and 40. DeConcilys also stresses keeping your head straight while doing this exercise. “Don’t let your chin go downwards toward your neck. This can cause neck strains so remember your neck should always be straight even if it feels like it shouldn’t.” Bored with regular crunches? Try this modification: lift your legs up off the ground into the air instead of keeping them bent on the floor. This will target your lower abs more than normal crunches.
CARDIO: “One of the best ways to get your heart pumping at home is running up and down your stairs” says DeConcilys. “This is one exercise that will help give anyone a great cardiovascular workout.” To begin this cardio workout, run up and down your stairs or around your block for one minute. Then walk for three minutes. Repeat this step for a total of three sets. Jumping jacks and step ups are two other exercises that can be included in any cardio routine. CORE: Core workouts are important for extra toning of the lower back, stomach, abs,
“Squats are the best way to tone up your legs and butt.” - Renee Deconcilys, personal trainer legs, and butt. If you can, DeConcilys recommends purchasing a stability ball (you can pick one up for $30 or $40) for around-the-house exercises. ““It really does help and, if you can its worth the money.” If you prefer not to spend the money then don’t even sweat it, most of these exercises can be done around the house without spending a dime, she says. ARMS:
To achieve toned arms try doing tricep dips. “Start off by sitting on a chair with your hands beside your thighs,” says DeConcilys, “When you’re ready, slide your butt off the chair and bend your arms while lowering your body until your arms are about a 90 degree angle. Make sure to dip low enough so that your bum is just above the floor. From there lift your body back up using your arms. Always remember to leave your feet flat on the floor. Then repeat.” Beginners should do 3 sets of 12 reps. If you’re more advanced, do 3 sets of 15 or 20 reps. LEGS & GLUTES: “Nobody likes doing squats but it’s true,” says DeConcilys. “Squats are the best way to tone up your legs and butt. “Begin with spreading your feet a little bit more then shoulder width apart,” says DeConcilys. “From there you want to bend your knees until your legs make a 90 degree angle while making sure your knees never pass your toes.” Once you have done this, return to the starting position and begin the exercise again. Beginners should start off with three sets of 20 and then eventually work up to three sets of 30 to 40. Always remember to break in between each set for about 30 seconds. If you find this exercise is a little difficult when first starting out, then DeConcilys recommends doing a wall squat. “ You’re still doing a normal squat but now you would use the wall for support, while always remembering to keep your back straight against the wall.” YYZ
...beat the summer school blues Taking classes during the summer shouldn’t keep you from having fun. Read on for tips on how you can make the most of your summer season. By Darcie Springall
For most students, summer is a time for camping, road trips or working through the days to make money for the nights. But more and more students are opting to take courses over the summer, either to alleviate the amount of classes during the year, or to make up for a failed class. And though this may put a wrench in their summer plans, many students have an awesome summer anyway. Ryerson University Counselling Services offers a number of ways to avoid burnout during summer classes. According to its website, www.ryerson.ca/ counselling/, getting plenty of sleep is the number one way to avoid overworking yourself, as well as getting regular physical activity. As for time-management, the online tip sheet recommends planning out and prioritizing tasks, and avoiding putting off homework or tasks until the last minute. Scheduling time to do something you love is important too, which is where doing what you can to make the most of your “summer vacation” comes in. The following students are summer school veterans. They say their summers were just as great, even though they spent part of it confined within the walls of their preferred institution. Here’s how: Photos Darcie Springall
1. Do whatever you can to get outdoors. – Ariane Benicy, student at University of Ottawa In the summer, it’s easy to find yourself cooped up in your room doing readings or assignments, but finding any excuse to get outside helps make sure you feel like you’re getting the most out of the summer weather. “I always did my readings outside,” Benicy says. “The sun relaxes you, and you can learn the necessary material and work on your tan.” 2. Make the most out of your weekends. Fill them to the brim with activities. - Benicy If you’re lucky enough to be able to do your schoolwork, hold a job through the week and still get weekends off, make the most of that time. There are tons of things to do on the weekends, like going to Canada’s Wonderland or Ontario Place. The weekends are also a great time for road trips or to visit a festival or market. “Making sure you have plans each day of the weekend gives you the feeling of keeping busy and living life,” says Benicy. 3. Consider sacrificing a job to focus on school and have time to relax. – Jeff King, student at Humber College Not working during the summer (if you can swing it) is an easy way to free up your time to make sure you are free to do activities and enjoy your summer every minute you’re not in school. “If you try to be in school, and have a part-time job and maintain a social life, you’re going to find that something is eventually sacrificed,” says King. “It’s hard to do all three with such limited time during the week.”
4. Network on Facebook for parties in the area and check the local newspapers for cool festivals and concert listings. – Diana Suess, Humber College graduate Facebook is the quickest way to find out what’s going on with your friends, event-wise. Keeping in touch and networking with friends from home, or people living in the area makes sure you’re always in the know about local events, or parties. Remember to check local newspapers for upcoming festivals or concert listings. “I always knew what was going on through the newspaper,” says Suess. “I was able to attend a lot of festivals in downtown Toronto because I was aware of when they were happening.” 5. Keep things simple to make sure you are giving as much attention to your schoolwork, and still having a relaxing and enjoyable summer. - Suess If school is taking up your days, and work is taking up your weekends, there are simple things to do to keep yourself entertained and enjoy the summer. Suess says small things go a long way. “Going out for dinner one night, or having drinks another night usually only last a few hours, and allow you to get away from your busy schedule and de-stress for a while.” *** The summers are for relaxing and enjoying the great things life has to offer. Being in school during the summer doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice it. And don’t feel guilty about indulging yourself on the weekends instead of focusing on your schoolwork. “Remember,” Suess advises, “if you work hard, you’re entitled to play hard too.” YYZ
Humber College ÂŠ 2009