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VOL.001 ISSUE 003

73 TRUE NORTH STRONG & FREE: Celebrating our n a t i o n ’s 1 5 0 t h

44 HOME TRENDS FOR 2017

on the cover…

MARCY MUSSARI: T H I S N I AGA R A N AT I V E I S CA N A D A’ S N E X T D E S I G N E R

38

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LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

Since I’ve moved to my house, I’ve been obsessed with the idea of making it cozy; an eclectic kind of retreat. And it’s still a work in progress as new elements are added constantly. I change paint colours all the time and often something I loved two years ago suddenly doesn’t hold the same allure as my newest find from the flea market (a lamp with a bird on it that I basically had to arm wrestle my friend for). In this issue, the inspiration for our 2017 home trend forecast? The much hyped cultural phenomenon that is Hygge. Difficult to define as there is no actual literal translation, this Norwegian concept is essentially mastering the art of “coziness” and thus achieving a sense of well being and contentment in your life. I’m not a huge one for trends, but I can definitely get behind carving out a reading nook for myself and purchasing a sheepskin rug (fake of course – page 44). Forget what you think you know about macaroni and cheese (page 14) as Lynn Ogryzlo brings to light the origin of perhaps the most quintessential comfort food. If weekend brunches are your thing you might enjoy a trip to White Meadows Farm (page 19), where they live the sweet life tapping maple syrup for you to take home to smother those pancakes in. Niagara is known for producing ambitious talent. In this issue, we shine a spotlight on an innovative eatery, The Pomegranate, a student run fine dining restaurant hosted by the Fort Erie Secondary School (page 23). We get up close and personal with our cover girl Marcy Mussari, a new talent in the world of interior design who is Canada’s Next Designer (page 38). So curl up with your favourite blanket, get comfortable and hope you achieve Hygge.

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LYNN OGRYZLO

//CONTRIBUTORS

Lynn is a food, wine and travel writer, author of three international award-winning cookbooks and regular contributor to REV Publications. Lynn specializes in culinary tourism covering regional cuisine destinations, slow food, culinary holidays, wine, spirits and “la dolca vita”. She can be reached for questions or comments at lynnogryzlo.com.

GABRIELLE TIEMAN

JILL THAM

Gabrielle is a passionate about the written word. A newcomer to Niagara, Gabrielle is a graduate of the University of Ottawa’s Journalism program and has written for a number of newspapers and publications across Canada. Her passion lies in profiling members of the community and uncovering the hidden gems within a city. When she is not writing you can find her on her bicycle - most likely with a large coffee in hand.

Jill’s passion for writing came after seeing the movie Stand by Me. She prefers listening to Niagara bands to practising her guitar and running the track better than shopping. When Jill is not moonlighting as a freelance writer, she is an Elementary teacher juggling her three children. Along with being a regular contributor to Today Magazine, Jill’s articles have been featured in Canadian Running, Pedal, Allergic Living and @OECTA. jilltham.wordpress.com @JillBT

MARIANA BOCKAROVA Mariana Bockarova is a PhD Candidate at the University of Toronto, where she teaches Psychological Resiliency, the Science of Happiness, and the Psychology of Relationships. Her research explores narrative medicine and mental health. She also holds a Master’s degree from Harvard University concentrated in Psychology.

ANDREW HIND Andrew is a freelance writer specializing in travel, history and lifestyle. He has a passion for new adventure, experiences and also for exploring little known stories. Andrew is never without a book or three in hand and some obscure historical fact at the tip of his tongue. Follow him @discoveriesAM

ADAM REMPEL Adam Rempel is a Financial Services Specialist with PenFinancial Credit Union. A proud Brock University and Leadership Niagara graduate, Adam is happy to be working at a truly local credit union that helps grow the lives of over 20,000 Niagara residents and allows him to give back and support Niagara communities by delivering financial literacy programming. You can often catch Adam riding through Short Hills Park or taking in a live show in downtown St. Catharines. Check out Adam’s financial blog at trulylocaladvice.ca

TINA LANZILLOTTA A graduate of the Niagara College Journalism program, Tina’s career in magazines began when working for OG, Hamilton, Biz and Visitor’s Magazine. Her passion for story telling began with the written word and over the course of her successful 15-year career in media, it has expanded to include the visual side of story telling as well with marketing, graphic design and creative direction. Her passion lies in curation and being able to tie both elements together in an effective and beautiful way.

SHERMAN ZAVITZ A retired teacher, Sherman Zavitz has had a fascination with the history of Niagara Falls and area for many years. Active in many history-related organizations, he has authored five books and has been a columnist for the Niagara Falls Review for over 20 years. He has been recognized for his historical expertise by being appointed official historian for both the City of Niagara Falls, Ontario and the Niagara Parks Commission.

DR. CHRISTINA PLASKOS | MD, HON BSc Pharm, ABAARM Dr. Plaskos received her Honours Bachelor of Science of Pharmacology and her medical degree from the University of Toronto. Dr. Plaskos also has continued her education by completing a fellowship at the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine which helps shape her practice at Aegis MD. Her mission is for everyone to ignite their well-being! She is a certified & advanced injector.

todaymagazine.ca 9


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69 TRUE NORTH STRONG & FREE: Celebrating our n a t i o n ’s 1 5 0 t h

42 HOME TRENDS FOR 2017

on the cover…

MARCY MUSSARI: T H I S N I AGA R A N AT I V E I S CA N A D A’ S N E X T D E S I G N E R

36

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On the cover: Marcy Mussari on location in her home. Photography by David Haskell.

Today Magazine Niagara Edition is published by Rev Publishing Inc. All opinions expressed in Today Magazine Niagara Edition are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of Rev Publishing, it’s employees or owners. Reasonable care is taken to ensure that the information contained in this magazine is as up-to-date and accurate as possible, as of the time of publication, but no responsibility can be taken by Today Magazine Niagara Edition for any errors, omissions or comments made by writers or interviewees that are contained herein. Furthermore, responsibility for any losses, damages or distress resulting from adherence to any information made available through this magazine is not the responsibility of Today Magazine Niagara Edition. All unsolicited manuscripts and/or photographs submitted are assumed to be intended for publication or republication in whole or in part. The right to alter, edit or refuse photos and/or manuscripts intended for publication is assumed. All unsolicited material submitted to Today Magazine Niagara Edition are submitted at the author’s risk. Manuscripts and or photographs intended to be returned must be accompanied by sufficient postage. Today Today Magazine Niagara Edition does not assume any responsibility for any claims of our advertisers and reserves the right to refuse any advertising.

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// I N S I D E

FOOD & DRINK 14

MACCHERONI AND FORMAGGIO While today’s macaroni and cheese doesn’t resemble the original Italian dish of the 13th century, it is also more than what the Kraft Company would have you believe.

19

THE SWEET TASTE OF SPRING What do we call this season? Historically, it’s been known throughout Ontario as ‘sugar time’, when maple trees were tapped for their sweet sap. At one time an important yearly rite, the harvesting of maple sap and production of sweet, sticky maple syrup remains alive and well at White Meadow Farms in Niagara.

23

THE POMEGRANATE RESTAURANT Run by a passionate culinary leader, this unique high school endeavour is not your typical fine dining establishment; it’s so much more.

LIFESTYLE & CULTURE 38

BY HER OWN DESIGN: MARCY MUSSARI The last year has been a whirlwind for the 24-year-old Niagara native; this down-to-earth embodiment of the girl next door found herself quickly swapping her home grown YouTube videos for network produced reality television and design contracts with international companies.

44

ALL’S WELL THAT TRENDS WELL Inspired by the cultural phenomenon that is Hygge, we’ve selected the best in what’s trending in home décor for 2017.

55

MIND YOUR SKIN Not having time to invest in ourselves is the “norm”, but accepting it is not in our favour.

57

LOGOTHERAPY Finding meaning in your life based on the psychology of Viktor E Frankl.

60

GEORGE STATHAKIS A self-styled mystic and philosopher who decided it would be a good idea to go over the Falls in a barrel along with his pet turtle.

BUSINESS 62

TIME MANAGEMENT 101 Studies have found that the ability to successfully manage time has a direct and positive effect on our self-efficacy, our ability to alleviate work-related stress, the satisfaction we feel in our job, and even our health.

67

FIRST TIME HOME BUYER IN NIAGARA? Practical advice for those having a hard time realizing their dream of owning a home in Niagara’s competitive market.

69

A CUT ABOVE With humble beginnings of prepping and packaging meat in their home the couple behind Hero Dog Treats has since made a name for themselves as more than just a successful organic pet food player.

HERE.SEE.DO. 73

TRUE, NORTH, STRONG AND 150 In 2017, Canada will celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation with special events from coast to coast. Niagara is no exception.

77

BABY I’M AMAZED The purpose of a maze has certainly changed over the centuries, but in ancient times, they were known as labyrinths and it was more of a spiritual journey than anything else.

79

OUT & ABOUT Spring is here! Get your dancing shoes on and check out the highly anticipated In the Soil festival and other great festivals and events happening in Niagara.

86

TODAY’S PEOPLE Snapshots of people at an Oscar event party, Business After 5 and the Winter Wine Fest.


photo courtesy of The Merchant Ale House


//FOOD & DRINK

MACCHERONI E FORMAGGIO I T ’ S A L L S O D I F F E R E N T T O A N I TA L I A N …

BY LYNN OGRYZLO

It was in 1937

that the K raft Company put it in a box, a good portion of elbow macaroni and a packet of orange powder. The recipe was simple, boil, sprinkle, add milk and butter and stir. All in one pot, anyone could do it. While today’s macaroni and cheese doesn’t resemble the original Italian dish of the 13th century, it is also more than what the Kraft Company would have you believe. Real macaroni and cheese is a gourmet dish of perfectly cooked pasta enrobed in a cheesy béchamel sauce and when it’s au gratin, a flavourful, crunchy topping is added before being baked to integrate the best flavour into one experience. In my opinion, a good macaroni and cheese should be left to a good chef. “It’s the most popular dish on our menu,” says Megan Hingston of The Merchant Ale House of their macaroni and cheese dish. “We have customers who come in repeatedly, just for that dish.” Megan describes her macaroni and cheese dish as, “creamy and luxurious”; creamy because of the three cheeses that are blended together and luxurious because of the totality of the ingredients and their affect on the palate. “It’s dreamy.”

The Merchant Ale House macaroni and cheese begins with generous amounts of old cheddar for a seriously robust flavour, Gruyere for a kick-inthe-pants and medium cheddar to bring the two together. “We begin by bringing evaporated milk to a simmer and melting the cheese into it. It’s all about the sauce, ya gotta put a lot of love into it, that’s what a good mac and cheese is,” she says. It’s interesting that Hingston uses evaporated milk instead of a béchamel base but hey, it’s hers to reinvent anyway she wants! Hingston uses evaporated milk because it stabilizes the sauce, “when there is so much fat (from the cheese), you need a stabilizer or it will fall apart.” Sure there’s smoky bacon in it, “who doesn’t love bacon,” she explains and it helps to cut through the richness of the dish with a kick. On the top of the Merchant’s macaroni and cheese dish is a buttery panko crumb that adds crunch and flavour to the creamy noodles. “For mac and cheese lovers, it’s the best.” Baked or stirred; orange or white; crusted or plain; Paleo or Vegetarian, experts speculate that this year alone, over 60% of all adults will eat a dish of mac + cheese, while a whopping 80% of

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LIKE THERE IS NO ONE VERSION OF MACARONI AND CHEESE FOR CHEFS, THERE IS ALSO, NO ONE RECIPE FOR MACARONI AND CHEESE FOR THE HOME COOK children will eat it once if not twice in any given week! But let’s get one thing perfectly clear, they’re not looking for the same thing. Out of those 60% of adults, 100% of them are looking for more than orange dust from a box. The Moose and Pepper Bistro on Valley Way in Niagara Falls has an upscale Lobster Mac N’ Cheese on their menu. When asked, Chef/Owner Tim O’Donnell admits to never trying the boxed version with the orange dust because when he was growing up, “my mother always made her own macaroni and cheese and the one I make here is a lot like hers.” O’Donnell’s mac and cheese is a little more than a cross between the classic version with Parmesan cheese and a modern version with old cheddar. O’Donnell’s version includes an Irish twist, “my mother always added tomatoes. I marinate diced tomatoes in a blend of oil and spices, then add them when I mix it all together.” He’s referring to tossing the pasta with the melted cheese, cold lobster claws and savoury, diced tomatoes. O’Donnell’s macaroni and cheese is cheesy rich with a sweet elegance that only lobster can add and a fresh, lusciousness from the marinated tomatoes. “It’s become one of the favourite pasta dishes in the restaurant,” he adds. While O’Donnell doesn’t see the purpose of a crusty topping for his stove-top, gourmet dish, Hingston is adamant that part of her macaroni and cheese package is to top it with a toasted, buttered, panko crumb and baked low and slow in the oven. These versions of mac and cheese as delicious as they are, are a long way from their Italian roots. In fact, you probably wouldn’t recognize the first Italian version that is more like an Alfredo sauce over small squares of lasagna noodles than the orange twisted version today. When I made this comment to Anthony Pingue, owner of Napoli Ristorante and Pizzeria in Niagara Falls, he scoffs, “no self respecting Italian restaurant would have Alfredo sauce (on their menu)” and I’m left to conclude that no self respecting Italian restaurant would have Macaroni and Cheese on their menu either. “In Italy, it’s Pasta con Panna,” he corrects and goes on to explain the Italian version of macaroni and cheese. “My mother would make a quick pasta dish of Parmigiano Reggiano, butter and olive oil. That was our macaroni and cheese. I didn’t know what the

box of macaroni and cheese was until I went to college.” Today Pingue makes his mothers’ macaroni and cheese dish for his own children and like (or unlike) the chefs in this story, adds other ingredients, “I maybe add some rappini or peas for a vegetable.” In his restaurant Anthony serves his version of macaroni and cheese called Tagliatelle all’ Uovo con Funghi. It’s basically pasta in a cream sauce with cheese and mushrooms. It’s an Italian-style gourmet mac and cheese that is otherwise, unrecognizable to a North American. “It’s one of our popular dishes and it’s even more popular when we make it with gnocchi,” – yum! Since the origins of macaroni and cheese are Italian it makes sense that the dish is alive and well in many Italian restaurants around the region – you just need to know what to look for. But in other restaurants, chefs are making the more common North American versions. Chef Beth Ashton of August Restaurant in Beamsville adds soft, savoury, robust, roasted butternut squash and bacon to the smoky, cheddar cheesy, macaroni. Soft and creamy, the butternut squash melts along with the thick, cheese sauce for a graceful classic version dotted with bacon and an overall smoky essence that wraps around the psyche on a cold winters day. This is definitely another gourmet version you’ll need to try. Like there is no one version of macaroni and cheese for chefs, there is also, no one recipe for macaroni and cheese for the home cook. Some recipes use a single cheese like sharp cheddar and others would rather stir in cream cheese; some use ketchup and others use tomato paste. Pastas range from penne to fusilli to elbow macaroni. I discovered that Martha Stewart prefers to use one single cheese, white cheddar while Food & Wine magazine blends white cheddar with Gorgonzola and Parmesan. What I’ve discovered is that the name macaroni and cheese is only a recommendation with no limits to what gets stirred into the cheese. The North American version has about five-times more cheese in it than the classic Italian versions and while North American chefs are focusing on the creativity coming from the new ingredients they can add to it, Pingue who’s ancestral pride in the original peasant dish never wavers, says, “it’s only as good as the ingredients used in the dish.” Amen.


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the

taste SWEET of

SPRING

the nights

are still frosty and snow still blankets the ground, but the daytime sun has a special warmth. Icicles drip as they melt, streams begin to run and birds sing a happy song. It’s that in-between time that nestles uncomfortably between winter’s harsh embrace and the invigorating, life-giving arrival of spring. What do we call this season? Historically, it’s been known throughout Ontario as ‘sugar time’, when maple trees were tapped for their sweet sap. At one time an important yearly rite, the harvesting of maple sap and production of sweet, sticky maple syrup remains alive and well at White Meadow Farms in Niagara. “This is our farm’s 80th anniversary, and we’ve been tapping maple trees—for hobby or commercial use—almost as long,” explains Ann Bering, who owns and operates the farm with her husband, Murray. “Our son, Richard has become involved as well, representing a fourth generation of the family on the farm.” White Meadow Farms dates back to 1937 when Adam Bering, grandfather of current-owner Murray Bering, settled on 200 acres of farmland and forest to raise dairy cows and crops. Murray’s mother would fondly gaze out the kitchen windows and soak in the beauty of meadows that would burst into a sea of white each summer with the blooming of wild daisies. And so, the farm was named White Meadows. As a lark, Adam began to harvest sap and boil maple syrup in 1940. It was just for family consumption—ideal at a time when, as a result of World War Two, sugar was strictly rationed and very expensive—but Adam was taken. Then, inexplicably, the Bering family let the tradition wither. That changed around 1990 when Murray and his wife, Ann, began to again tap some of the farm’s maple trees and boil maple syrup on their stove-top. It was a modest beginning for what would, over the next twenty years, develop into one of the largest maple harvesting operations in Niagara. >>

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“We were bit

with the bug,” Ann laughs. “I love the idea of taking a product from nature, something that is basically just water, and transforming it into a variety of products. It’s a fascinating procedure. You start from the same place, but end at different places depending on your process.” In due course, the stove-top gave way to a commercial evaporator in a dedicated sugaring house, increasing production. Pails were no longer hung from trees, replaced instead with the modern and more efficient pipeline system. The Maple Sweet Shop was built for the retail of maple syrup and maple related products. And finally, the Bering’s began to take curious visitors into the sugar bush to learn about the ages old process of maple harvesting. Finally, by 2014, what began as a hobby became the focus of White Meadows Farms as the Bering’s had sold their dairy herd and no longer grew crops. Today, there are 5000 taps on the 60-acre farm along with three adjacent properties, making

continuously dropping hot stones into a sap-filled trough. Early Ontario settlers recognized the value of tapping maple trees and set aside several weeks each spring to harvest the sap. Unlike today, comparatively little maple syrup was actually produced; instead, settlers used the sap for manufacturing beer, vinegar, and most importantly, maple sugar. In fact, a typical family would probably make between 100 and 300 pounds of sugar annually. The European way of making maple sugar was more sophisticated and on a far larger scale than that practiced by aboriginal people, but the process was essentially the same. Gashes were made into trees, into which round and hollowed-out spouts (originally wooden, but later metal) were inserted an inch into the wood. Metal pails were placed below to collect the dripping sap. It was then boiled in large iron or copper kettles. It was a vital time of year, so boil fires were often kept burning for weeks on end as the farmer raced to collect sap from several hundred tapped trees before the brief season ended.

Taffy-on-Snow for themselves. Also, step into Lumberjack Shack, pick a partner, and test your skill with the two-man saws once wielded by lumberjacks. The slice of wood cut, branded with the year, makes for a unique keep-sake of a fun day spent in the bush. Keepsakes of another, more flavourful kind can be had at the Maple Sweet Store, the farm’s on-site gift shop. “The Maple Sweet Store sells syrup, of course, but also a wide range of gourmet items because everything is made better with maple,” enthuses Ann Bering. “We have homemade maple vinegar, BBQ sauces, jellies, salad dressing, maple butter (100% maple and completely dairy free), maple kettle corn made with homegrown popping corn, and butter tarts made exceptional with pure maple syrup.” While White Meadow Farms sells most of their product on-site, they do have an online store and in addition sell some syrup in local retailers. The Bering’s appreciate the bounty of the land and so conserv-

I love the idea of taking a product from nature, something that is basically just water, and transforming it into a variety of products. It’s a fascinating procedure.” - Ann Bering

White Meadow Farms a medium-sized maple operation for Ontario. Some 5000 guests visit each year. Maple sap requires frosty nights and warm days, so tours start March 4th and run every weekend throughout the month, daily during March break, and last until the first weekend in April, which corresponds with Ontario Maple Weekend. Dressed warmly, with snow crunching underfoot, visitors hop aboard a tractor-pulled wagon and are taken deep into the sugar bush to experience the process of harvesting maple sap. The ride last but a few brief minutes, but transports you centuries into the past because, upon climbing from the wagon, visitors find themselves in recreated native and pioneer camps where a guide describes the history of the maple syrup production. Woodland natives had been collecting maple sap for centuries before the first white man even appeared on the shores of the New World. Their method of making maple sugar was relatively crude, but ingenious nonetheless. Knives were used to gash a maple tree in a slanted direction, cutting through the bark into the soft wood beneath. They inserted a wooden chip into this wound, over which the leaking sap would run, eventually dropping drip by painfully-slow drip into birch pails or hollowed out logs resting on the ground below. It was then boiled in earthenware pots or by

As the 20th century dawned, fewer and fewer farmers devoted much time to maple sugar manufacturing. Cane sugar was becoming cheaper and was now readily available even in rural Ontario. The harvesting of maple sap, once a yearly rite for most farmers, became increasingly rare. Nevertheless, there are still several dozen commercial sugar bushes around Ontario—among them, White Meadow Farms— where the tradition is held onto as a quintessentially Canadian celebration of the spring. This history is told in detail during a guided tour at White Meadow Farms. One also learns that not all maple syrup is the same . “Maple syrup is graded by color. The darker the color, the stronger the flavour is,” Ann Bering explains. “As the season goes later, the darker and stronger flavoured the sap syrup will be—the sap itself looks exactly the same, its only through boiling that the color appears. Taste the different colors and see the difference.” During the tour, you’ll visit the Taffy Shack. Little has changed since the days when pioneer children crowded dad’s pot, waiting for him to drizzle hot syrup on the snow for them to roll onto their sticks. Here, visitors can sample

ation is prevalent in every step of their operation. Energy efficient LED lights in The Maple Sweet Shop have reduced yearly electricity consumption. Instead of using oil to heat the evaporator as most modern operations do, they’ve opted to continue with the traditional method of burning wood culled from dead or overcrowded trees in the woodlot. Finally, to further cut their carbon imprint, the Bering’s installed a solar heating system. An iconic Canadian tradition, maple syrup harvesting lives on at Pelham’s White Meadow Farms, auguring in the springtime season in sweet fashion and reminding us of eras past when the harvest was a vital yearly ritual. Grab a jacket and toque, head out to the sugar bush, and enjoy the first tentative taste of spring. JUST THE FACTS Location: 2519 Effingham St., Pelham Phone: 905-682-0642 Web: whitemeadowsfarms.com For more information on other maple syrup harvesting operations and festivals, visit the Ontario Maple Syrup Producer Association website at ontariomaple.com.


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I

PHOTOG R APHY JASON HAY WOOD

I

think every high school student, if they are lucky, has that one teacher they connect with, that encourages them to strive for greatness. Their own personal Robin Williams in Dead Poet’s Society, Richard Dreyfuss in Mr. Holland’s Opus or Hilary Swank in Freedom Writers. For me, it was an English teacher at Denis Morris. For the students in the culinary program at Fort Erie Secondary School, there’s Mr. Keyvani (or Mr. K as his students call him). I’ll be honest, it’ll come as no surprise to me if one day the story ends up gracing the big screen. This is, after all, a teacher that gets invited to his students weddings, years after they graduate. His are the kind of classes you wax nostalgic about when you get older. The Pomegranate Restaurant is a fine dining establishment run by the students in the high school’s culinary program. A classroom which by day is full of chalkboards and books, and by night is lit with ambient lighting, decked out with greenery for décor a light jazz music playing in the background. The students work every part of the restaurant, from greeting people at the door, to setting the table, menu planning, to preparing and serving food. The culinary team who run the restaurant is made up of Specialist High Skills Major Students from Mr. K’s culinary program, and it’s unique to the area. The program has been running for 10 years now, and is modelled after the Niagara College program Mr. K graduated from. >>

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T

he night we ate there, the menu consisted of a roasted red pepper soup, salad, stuffed chicken breast, roasted veggies, garlic potatoes, and a variety of pastries and a crème brulee for dessert. We weren’t too sure what to expect, but we were blown away by not only the quality of the food, but the professionalism. Table linens adorned every table, and it was evident that this is a place that a lot of care, time and effort goes into. The students are proud of what they have created; and they should be. While the whole kitchen is run by the advanced skills culinary class, the main chefs for the night we were dining were Elizabeth Chir (Main Chef), Kiara Fretz (Sous Chef) and Hailey Patrick (Pastry Chef). The food was delicious, and the service seamless. Exactly what you would expect from a fine dining restaurant. The fact that we were in a high school classroom completely left our minds, as we eagerly awaited each new course. In addition to cooking up delicious meals every Wednesday during the school year, the team at the Pomegranate is deeply involved in the community of Fort Erie. They regularly host food drives, visit the local farmers market once a year to hand out free food, spend one Saturday a month cooking a massive amount of food and bringing it to St. Paul’s Anglican Church, where they serve a healthy lunch to those who are in need. They cook meals for special fundraisers, including the Rob Parker Memorial Dog Guide Dinner and many more. Students from this program also regularly complete in culinary skills competitions, where they place in the top often. Graduates of the program have gone on to work on cruise ships, in restaurants and often come to the school to teach current students what they’ve learned. Mr. K who clearly loves his job, hopes to continually build the program and in spite Fort Erie’s isolation from the rest of the Niagara Region, or maybe because of, these students have embraced this opportunity and are thriving. The restaurant is open to the public during the school year, you just need to make reservations in advance. You can do that by calling Afshin Keyvan at 905-871-4619 (extension 61890), or emailing pomegranaterestaurantfess@gmail.com.


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ON THE TABLE//CHRIS CALABRESE

Old World Italian Flare:

N’ata Cosa

a

a

Authentic Italian cuisine marries with stylish modern dining at N’ata Cosa – a new ristorante in downtown St. Catharines that has quickly won the hearts – and stomachs – of the region. The family owned and operated N’ata Cosa located on central St. Paul Street offers a diverse menu of regional flare with a welcoming atmosphere for a family friendly, casual-fine dining environment sure to satisfy every customer to be seated at their red checkered tables. Upon walking through the door, the scent of fresh espresso, dough and sweet goods envelope your senses , with enough warmth to entice any wandering soul to sit down for a multi-course meal. The restaurant may be small, but what they lack in square footage they make up for in big flavour. Executive Chef Chris Calabrese has come to revolutionize the classic Italian kitchen. His diverse culinary training, gained in some of the world’s most renowned kitchens, is enough to make any restaurant clamber for his insight; educated in the kitchen of Ottawa’s renowned Le Cordon Bleu and challenged as a pastry apprentice under famed patisserie owner Chef Pino, Calabrese’s love for Italian cooking and baking flourished. His talent and culinary drive has taken him into kitchens across the globe; crafting pizzas at the famous Rossopomodoro in West Village, New York City and participating in seminars in kitchens across Southern Italy. But Calabrese says the true root of his passion and where he found his goal in life continues to remain the same – his parents own kitchen at Casa Leone Bakery in St. Catharines. “My passion for Italian food is owed to my mother and father [Domenico and Pasqualina] whom instilled a rich tradition of Italian baking and cooking in me from a very young age,” says Calabrese. “Since the start of their bakery in the 80’s they gave me enjoyment and appreciation of great food and fresh ingredients.” “Growing up in my parent’s bakery, my passion for food all began,” said Calabrese. “I learned how to bake from my parents at a very young age. In 2012, I became the head baker [at Casa Leone] and I had the opportunity to bake

BY GABRIELLE TIEMAN the bread for our retail and wholesale divisions; I was also able to implement catering and hot foods.” In an odd twist of fate, Calabrese developed an allergy to rye flour and was forced to leave the family bakery. But in 2015, when his parents stumbled upon a beautiful space in downtown St Catharines, a new avenue was opened and Calabrese found himself back in the family business. “I was invited to take on this venture as a part of our family and as executive baker and chef,” said Calabrese. From Napoli style pizza to house made sauces and hearty, fresh entrees – Calabrese said his menus are driven and influenced by his commitment to the Niagara Region and the requests and needs of their customers. Calabrese is committed to sourcing only the finest and freshest ingredients and featuring local produce when possible as the stars of his inspired dishes; all in order to showcase the great bounty of Niagara’s own backyard and ensure a memorable dining experience. “I’m a hometown boy raised in St. Catharines,” said Calabrese. “I am engaged in the community and committed to the Niagara Region - a place I have always called home. The region has so much to offer, including great wineries and fresh farms. We are able to source almost everything for our dishes right in our backyard.” The restaurant features an evolving menu that strives to showcase seasonally inspired ingredients. And though the menu remains vigilant in its portrayal of authentic Homestyle Italian, Calabrese enjoys utilizing staple Italian ingredients to create twists on classic dishes. “We are always striving to create creative authentic Italian dishes which are not on our menu for our daily features,” said Calabrese. “It is hard to choose a favourite ingredient; I would say tomatoes, asparagus and eggplant though – it is just the versatility of these ingredients in the Italian cuisine which make them a staple item.” And though the handmade gnocchi with gorgonzola cream sauce and King Cole duck breast are enough to make any foodie swoon, the true gem of N’ata Cosa is the Napoli style wood pizza oven. The entire N’ata Cosa team said only one taste of true Neapolitan pizza made with authentic ‘00’ flour

is “enough to make one feel as though they were immediately transported into a piazza in Southern Italy.” Complemented by an incredible array of flavour rich ingredients and handmade dough, these pizzas work as a teleportation device, transporting diners straight to the rolling hills of Italy. Popular topping options include Salsicciota -- a combination of tomato sauce, mozzarella, sweet Italian sausage, mushrooms and basil; Napoletana -tomato sauce, mozzarella di bufala, oregano, garlic, anchovies and parsley; and the soon to be classic Calabrese pizza topped with tomato sauce, fior di latte, grana padano, soppressata, chili pepper and fresh basil – Chef Calabrese’s obvious favourite. “Growing up in a bakery from a very young age I have always loved to make fresh bread, pastries and pizza,” said Calabrese. “There is a certain skill required to make an excellent pizza in a wood fired oven. It is much different than placing a pizza in a pan and waiting for it to cook. The temperatures are consistently changing; there are hot spots and certain woods are used for better floor and wall heat. Ingredients are fresh and a pizza is transformed from dough to a beautiful airy pizza in approximately 90 seconds.” Add to the menu fresh seafood and top quality meats, local Niagara VQA and imported wines and a fresh from scratch children’s menu and N’ata Cosa ensures a truly memorable dining experience. Prices range from $14-$15 dollars for a pizza, $16-$18 dollars for a pasta dish and average $25 dollars for a dinner menu main course. Alongside Calabrese’s commitment to promoting Niagara produce is a commitment to better the community as a whole; as an avid contributor to local non-profit organizations, Chef Calabrese alongside N’ata Cosa was recently awarded the 2017 Future Leader award from the City of St. Catharines for their investment in our city’s economic growth and future. N’ata Cosa also offers fully customizable packages for events of any size including corporate and private events, product launches, showers and weddings. Visit their website natacosa.ca/ to preview their full menu and book your next visit to the unforgettable Italian restaurant.

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ON THE TABLE//JUSTIN LASSO

love

FOR THE

OF FOOD BY GABRIELLE TIEMAN

O

verlooking 76 acres of vineyard, the sprawling estate of Two Sisters Vineyards rests stately in Niagara-onthe-Lake; awaiting visitors to pass through its grand doors ready to discover an authentic Italian dining experience. Inside the grand building is Kitchen76 – an authentic Southern Italian restaurant unlike any other. Floor to ceiling windows frame the property and allow natural light to envelope the traditionally styled restaurant in a sense of magic – transporting diners from the printed fabric of their seats into a villa in Italy. Fresh basil rests on the exposed kitchen’s bar top and dried chilies hang on the opposite wall, softening the imposing architecture while drawing your eye to the impressive pizza oven in the corner. This juxtaposition of elements have a settling component, easing even the most excited of travelers into a trance that can only be broken by the smell of fresh gnocchi and pizza. Two Sisters is operated by a family with a true passion for food and wine. The vineyards philosophy is to produce exceptional wines while staying true to varietal character and having the grapes speak for themselves. This philosophy is translated inside Kitchen76 where head chef Justin Lasso’s creations are brought to life; dishes inspired by authentic Southern Italian cooking that are a true representation of the Marotta family’s values. “The love the family has for food is extremely intense,” says Lasso. “Their life revolves around cooking and being around the table with the family.” Similar to their award winning wines, the food is all about rich flavours that are not over complicated. “We are very driven by Southern Italian cooking: very simple, not a lot of butter, olive oil, lots of tomatoes,” said Lasso. “We are constantly tweaking here and there, looking at the ingredients and making sure we maintain dishes that are 100 per cent Italian.” Their seasonally driven menus and traditional style of cooking have made Kitchen76 a culinary destination. Though there are some staple items on the menu – like the Sicilian style

Arancini balls and house made pizzas – Lasso said he likes to switch up the menu but always keeping the customer in mind. “We always try to stick around the same concept,” said Lasso. “People come back for the same things for a reason so we always try to keep that in mind and work around that when bringing new items onto the menu.” But Lasso guarantees that two items on the menu will never change: their aged to perfection pizza dough and classic tomato sauce. “We take our tomato sauce very seriously,” said Lasso. “It is actually the hardest thing I have ever done. Me and the family, they were on me since the beginning, and they were born in Italy so they know better than I do.” Lasso said there are no secret ingredients; the secret is in the time and care it takes to make it. “It is 100 per cent technique,” said Lasso. “It is just all about how you cook it …it is pretty complicated. At the end of the day it has to be nice and light and flavourful.” And for the pizza, Lasso said they will go through an average 53 pounds of dough per day in the summer and it will only be served after the dough has been aged for up to seven days – because that time spent resting is where the dough develops its rich flavour. “[The pizza] is definitely the star of the show,” said Lasso. “We age the dough … that is the true secret. When you let the dough relax it gets a little soft, it gets blistery and that is where the flavour comes from.” Lasso said the kitchen also likes to utilize local produce when possible, with some ingredients coming right from their own backyard. “We take a lot of our fruit that we use straight from the property in the summer,” said Lasso. “We have peaches, plums, pears. And the family does a lot of canning themselves and will bring me beautiful things from Nona’s cantina to use.” This style of cooking works well for Lasso, whose culinary background is varied and stocked with technique from across the globe.

“I like nice food, simple food,” he says, “because the more complicated you get, the more components to get wrong. And that is what I do not like.” No newcomer to the Niagara kitchen, Lasso has a vast repertoire under his belt for his mere 30 years of age. Born and raised in St. Catharines, Lasso said his culinary career began with one single great chef: Erik Peacock of Wellington Court who took Lasso under his wing as a teenager. At only 18-years-old, Peacock chose Lasso to open the Coach House Café at Henry of Pelham Winery. “He is amazing and he saw something in me,” said Lasso. “I was very young and he put some faith in me.” Lasso continued to work and apprentice with Peacock on and off for six years as he went to Niagara College. Following completing his degree, he traveled to Europe in order to explore and further his culinary education. His travels took him into the kitchens of some of Europe’s most renowned hotels; working at the Four Seasons in Dublin, with a twoMichelin star chef at the luxury boutique Connaught Hotel and at the eclectic French restaurant La Trompette in London. Once Lasso returned to Canada, he returned to Wellington Court and Peacock for a short time before continuing on to the kitchen at the Stone Road Grille – where he experimented daily with homemade breads and pastries alongside head chef Steve Page. Lasso said he was taking a much needed break from the kitchen when he found himself interviewing for the position at Two Sisters Vineyard – a natural progression in his books. “[Coming to Two Sisters] happened organically,” said Lasso. “They were looking for a chef quite vigorously. Their winemaker reached out to me, because we had once worked together at Wellington Court. It was almost like it was meant to be.” And he has not looked back over the past two and a half years; attesting his success at the vineyard to years of hard work. “I kind of put my head down and it’s done me good so far,” said Lasso. “I recommend that to all young chefs.”


THE PERFECT STEAK, PAIRED P ER FECTLY.

From her warm hospitality to her sizzling steaks, Ruth had a certain way of doing things. Come in and experience Ruth’s delicious, timeless recipe for yourself. Make your reservation tonight. Niagara Falls

905.357.1199

6455 Fallsview Blvd

ruthschrisniagara.com

todaymagazine.ca 29


IN GOOD TASTE ADVERTISEMENT

dining showcase In Good Taste showcases a variety of Niagara’s most melt in your mouth, show stopping, delectable dining establishments and wineries. Whether their menus are unique to a restaurant or a familiar food that is prepared in a way you’ve never tasted before, it’s evident that Niagara is home to a food culture that is growing every day, and while it can be hard to choose where to engage your taste buds first, we hope these profiles give you a good head start. >>


IN GOOD TASTE

KITCHEN76

LA SCALA RISTORANTE

Savour the perfect pairing at Kitchen76 with dishes specially created to compliment our full spectrum of wines, icewines and sparkling. Delight your palate with the everchanging tastes and flavours of the season inspired by the Italian table. Incorporating some of the best cheeses, fine Italian olive oil and other Italian imported ingredients, our menu features locally grown vegetables, fruits and herbs, some from our very own garden. With a warm and inviting atmosphere, large fireplace, a rustic communal table and stunning panoramic views of our vineyard, Kitchen76 is designed to be enjoyed casually or in a formal setting, our table is yours!

Once in a while in life, people come across a place where time stands still…where pride and passion still exist, and love for food is evident. With our new exciting location, NEW private Tuscan room and sleek lounge, La Scala is ready to embrace all of our old and new customers. Nestled in the heart of downtown St.Catharines, La Scala Ristorante offers many Italian recipes which are generations old. Freshness, and local content is extremely important here all complimented with VQA or wines from our extensive list. New features created by the chef daily and in house catering available as well as on site small banquets and weddings.

MEGALOMANIAC JOHN HOWARD CELLARS OF DISTINCTION The cellars and vineyards of Megalomaniac sit on a 96 acre site in Vineland. The winery boasts a newly completed 30,000 square foot winemaking and hospitality facility with gorgeous views of the Toronto ad Niagara Falls skylines. Of note to try are the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay crafted by winemaker Sebastien Jacquey and his dynamic cellar team. Winter hours are from 11am - 5pm Summer hours are from 11am - 6pm Email admin@megalomaniacwine.com

STRADA WEST EAT & SIP HOUSE Hosts, brothers, Anthony and Tom Roberto welcome you to Strada West, centrally located on Lundy’s Lane. In keeping with family traditions the food is all prepared in house! Their menu features homemade pasta, sauce, hamburger patties and meatballs. The menu also features specialty burgers and sandwiches using bison, lamb, lobster and veal. Pasta dishes include fettuccine, gnocchi and ravioli. Plus they have a great wine selection & 9 beers on tap! Winners of the Reader’s Choice, Best Overall Restaurant Award and Trip Advisor’s Certificate of Excellence. Strada West, Eat & Sip House. Located on the WEGO Red Line and plenty of on site parking, reservations are suggested.

CHEF JUSTIN LESSO

LA SCALA RISTORANTE

MEGALOMANIAC

ANTHONY AND TOM ROBERTO

240 John St. E, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON 905.468.0592 | twosistersvineyards.com

9 Queen Street, Saint Catharines, ON 905.684-5448 | lascalaristorante.ca

3930 Cherry Avenue, Vineland, ON 905.562.5155 | megalomaniacwine.com

7805 Lundy’s Lane, Niagara Falls, ON 905.371.2272 | stradawest.com

todaymagazine.ca 31


IN GOOD TASTE

COPA CABANA

| Identity Design & Development

Logo - primary applications

21 CLUB

PONTE VECCHIO

COCO’S STEAKHOUSE

COPACABANA

Not to be outdone by the stunning views of Niagara Falls, CAA/AAA Four Diamond™ award winning 21 Club is big, bold and full of flavour.

Looking to add a little “wow” to your evening? Look no further than Ponte Vecchio, an intriguingly delicious place to sip a glass of wine and indulge in authentic Italian cuisine.

Market fresh ingredients highlight refined Canadian cuisine with uncompromising standards for excellence. From slow roasted prime rib and perfectly charred custom-aged rib eyes, T-bone and striploins to sumptuous seafood, 21 Club Steak and Seafood is a cut above the rest.

CAA/AAA Four Diamond™ award winning Ponte Vecchio, features fine Italian dining surrounded by old world atmosphere with a menu designed to tempt your taste buds, along with an award winning wine list. You may be dining in Niagara Falls, but you never know where a meal at Ponte Vecchio will take you.

Coco’s is a very popular restaurant destination for tourists and locals alike. Guests rave about our famous wood-fired steaks and gourmet pizzas. Watch our staff prepare your fresh pizza from start to finish, it’s a cooking show right in front of your very eyes.

Your experience at Copacabana begins with a trip to our “Galleria” where you will be tempted by fresh baked breads and dips from our open concept bakery, fresh cheeses cut from the wheel, and expertly hand sliced charcuterie selections. Help yourself to as many crisp salads and colorful starters as you want; but leave room, your experience is just beginning.

Must be 19 years of age or older to enter the casino. Individuals who have voluntarily excluded themselves from Ontario gaming sites and who have not been reinstated are not permitted to enter the casino. PlaySmart.ca.

Open Tuesday – Saturday from 5pm – 11pm. Must be 19 years of age or older to enter the casino. Individuals who have voluntarily excluded themselves from Ontario gaming sites and who have not been reinstated are not permitted to enter the casino. PlaySmart.ca.

Enjoy the awesome ambiance under the starlit Niagara skies as we offer nightly entertainment on the Terrace from 7:00pm onwards (in season only). Best of all, we offer ample free parking for all our guests! So visit Coco’s next time you’re in Niagara Falls and enjoy good times and great food that only Coco’s can deliver.

Back at your table, our carvers will serve up a feast of various CAB (Certified Angus) grilled meats prepared in a number of ways. Elevate your senses and sip on exotic cocktails and fine wines long with enjoying live entertainment on weekends. Copacabana is not just about the dining, it’s about the experience!

FALLSVIEW CASINO RESORT

FALLSVIEW CASINO RESORT

COCO’S STEAKHOUSE

COPACABANA GRILLED BRAZILIAN

6380 Fallsview Blvd, Niagara Falls, ON 1.888.325.5788 | fallsviewcasinoresort.com

6380 Fallsview Blvd, Niagara Falls, ON 1.888.325.5788 | fallsviewcasinoresort.com

5339 Murray Street, Niagara Falls, ON 905.356-1333 ext. 171 | cocosniagarafalls.com

6671 Fallsview Blvd, Niagara Falls, ON 1.888.432.6721 | 905.354.8775 | thecopa.ca


IN GOOD TASTE

CASA MIA RISTORANTE

BUCHANANS STEAK & SEAFOOD

RUTH’S CHRIS STEAK HOUSE

KOUTOUKI GREEK CUISINE

Casa Mia, owned and operated by the Mollica Family for the past 32 years, offers an outstanding dining experience, regardless of the occasion. And serves as a gathering place for food lovers who pay homage to the creativity, flair and culinary expression that defines matriarch and chef Luciana Mollica. The diverse menu abounds with creations, each imbued with vibrant colour, life and flavour. Located in the heart of Historic Stamford Village and gateway to Niagara’s Wine Trail. Niagara’s favourite local neighborhood Italian Restaurant. Complimentary shuttle service from Fallsview District Hotels. For reservations and more info call us at 905-356-5410.

Given it’s twelve years of service, this local hot spot was ready for a refresh, a reawakening if you will. Renovated dining room reopens with a blend of modern steakhouse and chic lounge – new menu items mixed with classic favorites like shrimp cocktail and French onion soup. This home-grown restaurant offers an appealing selection of hand-cut steaks charbroiled to your liking, tasty seafood, pasta & fresh salads. Lunch $12 – 16, Dinner $16 – 38. Savour Niagara Menu features $5 VQA Niagara wines & craft brews, $5 appetizers – daily noon – 6 pm. Live dinner music select Fridays/ Saturdays. Complimentary on-site self parking. Event space for up to 250 guests. Located at the DoubleTree Resort on Stanley Avenue.

The memory of a great meal stays with you long after the table has been cleared. This is why at Ruth’s Chris we thrive on our great food and service. Our menu offers a variety of dining options that will please all of our guests. Our passion lies in our high quality ingredients, attention to detail and that special sizzle. Inside Ruth’s Chris Steak House you’ll also find Niagara’s hottest bar and lounge. Treat yourself at this high-end lounge with your own private booth surrounding the bar and dance floor and a personal host to cater to your every need.

Take a break from your busy schedule! Come in and enjoy a glass wine or a pint of local craft beer. at our magnificent bar. We offer select wines from Greece and the Niagara region. Savour the flavours of our unique cuisine,carefully prepared by our chefs daily. Choose from an array of appetizers as a light snack or indulge in one of our traditional rustic entrees. Immerse yourself in our warm and cozy atmosphere. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff await you. OPA! Something is always sizzling at Koutouki! Reservations Reccommended | Free Parking

CHEFS CLAUDIO & LUCIANA MOLLICA

BUCHANANS STEAK & SEAFOOD

RUTH’S CHRIS STEAK HOUSE

“INSPIRED BY TRADITION”

3518 Portage Road, Niagara Falls, ON 905.356.5410 | casamiaristorante.com

6039 Fallsview Blvd, Niagara Falls, ON 905.353.4111 | niagarafallsdoubletree.com

6455 Fallsview Blvd, Niagara Falls, ON 905.357.1199 | ruthschrisniagara.com

5745 Ferry Street, Niagara Falls, ON 905.354.6776 | koutoukiniagara.com

todaymagazine.ca 33


IN GOOD TASTE

BRASA BRAZILLIAN STEAKHOUSE

THE WATERMARK

PRANZO RISTORANTE ITALIANO

FRONTIER BBQ & SMOKEHOUSE

Located in Hilton Niagara Falls/Fallsview Hotel & Suites and across from the Fallsview Casino, Brasa showcases the flavours and cultural flair of Brazil. Following a centuries-old tradition of cooking on an open fire, diners can experience endless cuts of succulent beef, pork, lamb, and chicken carved tableside in the style of authentic Brazilian gaúchos. The gourmet buffet features over 70 hot and cold items to accompany your meal including some Brazilian fare like Brazilian-style potato, seafood buffet and grilled pineapple. It is also home to a sophisticated wine collection with a fully enclosed, wine room containing an extensive selection of world-renowned wines. Brasa is the best place to experience a taste of South America.

As the signature restaurant in Hilton Niagara Falls/Fallsview Hotel & Suites, the Watermark elevates guests’ dining experiences to new heights. Voted most romantic, the Watermark’s inventive cuisine, extensive wine selection, and stylish design is only surpassed by its stunning, panoramic views of both the American and Horseshoe Falls. Decorated in shades of blue and white, and located on the 33rd floor, the Watermark’s elegant, contemporary ambiance is reminiscent of the majestic Niagara Falls itself. Our Executive Chef lovingly crafts his creative dishes by using only fresh and seasonal ingredients, from finecrafted Niagara Region wines to prosciutto from a local Niagara Falls artisan.

Located in Hilton Niagara Falls/Fallsview Hotel & Suites and in the center of the Niagara Falls’ Entertainment District, Pranzo Ristorante Italiano offers flavorful, hand-crafted favourites prepared to order in a lively open display kitchen. Be sure to try our signature brick oven pizzas and authentic Italian cuisine in a warm, inviting atmosphere. Children eat free with the purchase of any adult meal. There’s something for everyone at Pranzo.

Niagara’s first, Southern-style all-you-can-eat restaurant. We draw our inspiration from our neighbours to the South who have mastered the art of BBQ and serve locally-inspired sides for an authentic smokehouse experience. Our meats are smoked in a variety of woods including apple wood, mesquite, and hickory, lending to our unique Frontier flavour. Enjoy house-seasoned smoked meats direct from the grill served by our pit masters; plus over 50 hot and cold seasonal items including our ultimate potato bar with five types of potatoes and over 20 topping choices. Be sure to try our signature brisket and our house-made BBQ sauces.

HILTON NIAGARA FALLS

HILTON NIAGARA FALLS

HILTON NIAGARA FALLS

FRONTIER BBQ & SMOKEHOUSE

6361 Fallsview Blvd, Niagara Falls, ON 905.353.7187 | brasaniagara.com

6361 Fallsview Blvd, Niagara Falls, ON 905.353.7138 | watermarkrestaurant.com

6361 Fallsview Blvd, Niagara Falls, ON 905.353.7174 | pranzoniagara.com

6519 Stanley Avenue, Niagara Falls, ON 289.296.6367 | frontierniagara.com


SPYCE LOUNGE

THE KEG STEAKHOUSE + BAR

Street level and in the heart of Niagara Falls’ entertainment district, you will be in the center of the action. Spyce Lounge offers a sophisticated and lavish escape from life’s hustle and bustle with live entertainment every night and a full lounge menu. Whether you want to savor a signature cocktail mixed to perfection, mingle with friends, or watch live sporting events on Niagara’s largest TV, Spyce offers customizable services to help cater your every whim. Spyce is the perfect way to start, end, or enjoy your entire night.

Dine overlooking Niagara Falls in The Keg Steakhouse + Bar, located on the 9th floor of the Embassy Suites Niagara Falls Fallsview. This landmark location offers guests floor-to-ceiling panoramic views of the famous Falls and the highest quality steaks and seafood for a dining experience to remember.

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6361 Fallsview Blvd, Niagara Falls, ON 905.354.7887 | spycelounge.ca

6700 Fallsview Blvd, Niagara Falls, ON 905.374.5170 | fallsviewrestaurant.com

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todaymagazine.ca 35


TO DINE IS DIVINE


RESTAURANT

1-800-263-5766 WHITEOAKSRESORT.COM

bar + grill


COVER STORY

BY HER OWN DESIGN: HOW MARCY MUSSARI BECAME CANADA’S NEXT DESIGNER By Gabrielle Tieman I Photography David Haskell

The

magic of a room can be found in the tiniest of details. From delicate brass fixtures adorning black matte furniture to eclectic assorted dishes layered atop a family harvest table; these simple finishing touches blend together at first glance but create a story the longer your eyes settle into your new space. For interior designer Marcy Mussari, it is all about bringing this kind of life into a space; creating a look, along with a story, for each room that is as vibrant and alive as the people she is designing for. The last year has been a whirlwind for the 24-year-old Niagara native; this down-to-earth embodiment of the girl next door found herself quickly swapping her home grown YouTube videos for network produced reality television and design contracts with international companies. Fascinated with design since she was a child, the Fanshawe College graduate has quickly taken the design world by storm. Mussari says her passion is rooted in the design of homes and seeing her clients’ faces light up when they walk into their new homes – describing her style as a mix of traditional, classic elegance with a love for contemporary flare and clean, feminine touches. Following a friend’s insistence, Mussari applied for a Hallmark Channel and quickly found herself being flown to Hollywood as a top 25 finalist on Hallmark’s Home and Family Show. Chosen as one of the DIY Stars, Mussari excelled in front of the camera – winning the hearts of Hallmark through her DIY bar cart and creative eye. >>


//LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

todaymagazine.ca 39


Mussari said she rapidly found that she had been bitten by the camera bug. Mussari decided to take the leap and pitch herself to the Marilyn Denis Show as a possible segment. Shortly after, one of Denis’ producers contacted her about their new reality show Canada’s Next Designer, urging her to send in an application video. It was not long after that Mussari found herself yet again as a top six finalist, chosen amongst hundreds of trained design applicants. “It all happened so quick, I still cannot believe it,” said Mussari. “The things that have come from the show; the people I get to meet. Going into it, sending in a video, I never knew that it would take me here.” Labeled the sweetheart of Canada’s Next Designer and the youngest competitor on the inaugural season of the series, Mussari was challenged to work exclusively with IKEA products in a series of themed decor challenges. Challenges included a throwback themed episode where contestants worked to redecorate a room from the past - keeping intact key pieces from their given era; designing vignettes to

be on display at Ikea in order to inspire shoppers; and to transform staple pieces from the Ikea repertoire and alter them to show creative alternative uses for the classics. These challenges not only tested their design skills, but their ability to work creatively under a strict time restraint and budget – Mussari said another true testament to the amazing prices and products found at Ikea. “The challenges were extremely high pressure and stressful,” said Mussari. “Not only are you thinking about what you are going to do for this challenge on such a short time line but you’re trying to put out your best work, you’re trying to impress these judges, there is a camera in your face, all while producers are asking you questions - it was really overwhelming. And you’re on camera so you have to keep it together.” There was no camera magic, no secret help from behind the scenes; Mussari said the challenges were actually as long as they were described and in turn, she became really good friends with Ikea’s signature tool, the Allen Key. “They wanted [the challenges] to be

real and have us under pressure,” said Mussari. “If the show said we had two hours to race around Ikea, find what we wanted and design and finish our room, than that was what we really had.” And not only were the challenges true to their time frames, the designers were also tasked to shop as regular Ikea shoppers; battling the back to school crowds and navigating the store filled to the brim with customers. “I thought we were going to have the IKEA store to ourselves but no,” said Mussari. “It was [shot] in September, it was back to school time, and it was packed, and we had to run around. Before the show I would look through the IKEA catalogues to get an idea of my favourite products and I would look into the layout of the store. So I would go in with a game plan and my sketches, but to be honest, it never went as planned. But I learned to grab what I saw and then later at the cash take things out and edit and work from there.” Mussari said a tactic that helped to keep her on track while she made design decisions was to envision a client for each room she designed. >>

BEAUTY IS IN THE DETAILS We took full advantage of Marcy graciously letting us into her home and documented every delightful corner of her bedroom. The artfully arranged and carefully selected items displayed in these vignettes lent an air of lived in comfort and sophistication and a sense of airiness that belayed it’s modest size. Conservative in her use of colour, Marcy expertly made use of her limited palette by incorporating different textures and patterns and even created her own artwork the night before (framed, opposite page top left) to freshen up the look – a compulsion she admits she has all to often.


todaymagazine.ca 41


W

“...TO HAVE MY OWN FABRIC LINE, WALLPAPER, DESIGN PIECES. I AM GOING TO REACH FOR THE STARS ...”

ith each project I had, I pictured a story line or client,” said Mussari. “It helps me create a space I am passionate about.” But the challenges did not sway Mussari’s determination to win. The finale saw Mussari up against Toronto’s Joey Vogel, designing a complete room of their choice from top to bottom. She decided to tackle her favourite room to design – a more traditional styled bedroom – and created a space tailored with her grandparents in mind, specifically her grandfather Zoli whom she had lost early in her life but whom had always remained a constant inspiration. “Throughout this process, I was constantly thinking about my grandfather - he was into artwork and design - and I felt like he was with me through the whole process,” said Mussari. “I never truly got to grow up with him, but my mom always said that we had so much in common. So for the final room I created a bedroom space for my grandma and grandpa. “I wanted to have the abstract art that he would love; I had his novels on his side tables, my grandma Paisley’s flowers on hers, I incorporated a tie on the vanity and a couple of things like that,” said Mussari. “It was very emotional for me and I put a lot of myself in that room and I feel like that showed.” In the end, the judges chose Mussari’s bedroom suite as the winner. “I am still in shock over the win – it doesn’t feel real,” said Mussari. “I know I have the drive and talent to get myself to where I want to be, but you always start second guessing yourself and you put pressure on yourself. I would look at other peoples’ work and say ‘oh gosh that is better than mine, I don’t know how far I am going to go’. But then another week would pass, and another and then I was in the finale.” Mussari disclosed that following the presentation of her finale bedroom, she discussed her chosen clients in an emotional confession tape; explaining to the producers why her grandparents had been her inspiration behind her finale winning vignette. Mussari said following her win, she begged the producers to air her confessional – not only for the viewers, but also for her family whom she had kept her win a secret from until the finale aired. “I had to call the producers and beg to put this scene in the episode, because you don’t know what’s going to actually make it in each week,” said Mussari. “But they agreed on the importance of it and the impact it had on my win.” The win earned her a year-long design contract with IKEA Canada, a trip to Europe and

the opportunity to participate in Democratic Design Days – held annually in Älmhult, Sweden – alongside hundreds of IKEA employees and top influencers in the world of interior design. “So far, I have done some behind the scenes watching and shadowing but more is to come,” said Mussari. “I will get to be working on photo shoots [for IKEA], I will be picking and choosing things and designing shoots for advertising.” Many other opportunities have grown from her time on the show; lately Mussari has found her dreams coming true as a new regular on the Marilyn Denis show [the same producers as Canada’s Next Designer], giving DIY tutorials, tip segments on how to transition your home decor with the seasons, how to organize your home with Ikea products and more. Mussari said she also continues to post regularly on her YouTube channel and she has found herself venturing into local Niagara classrooms to talk with young students about the importance of setting goals and following your dreams. “I really do believe that, especially after these past few months and this past year, that if you have a goal and you work hard you put your mind to something and are passionate about something you can get to where you want to be,” said Mussari. Mussari said that aside from setting goals, she believes that it is this kind of passion and a commitment to being kind that has helped her achieve success at her age. She hopes to inspire as many students as she can with this message. “I grew up with parents who taught me to treat people with respect which I find is super important,” said Mussari. “I have always wanted to inspire people and show that if you are true to yourself and work hard and are kind you can make your dreams happen.” “As much as I want to help people not only learn about design and come up for ideas for their rooms, I want to encourage people to follow their dreams and not let other people bring them down,” said Mussari. “It is important to focus on you and be positive and be yourself. That is really something I learned from the show too. You don’t have to be some fake image of yourself; you just need to be true to yourself and be a kind person and follow your heart and trust your gut.” As for the future, Mussari said her dream is to one day have her own brand – a goal she plans to pursue in hopes of making it a reality. “To have my own website where you can go to for design, lifestyle, cooking, all that, that is the dream,” said Mussari. “Even to have my own fabric line, wallpaper, design pieces. I am going to reach for the stars and hope for it.”


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ALL’S WELL THAT TRENDS WELL BY TINA LANZILLOTTA

We are a culture obsessed by lifestyle trends – the latest of which is not only hard to pronounce but even harder to define. “Hygge” (the Danish word, pronounced “hoo-ga”) first hit mainstream consciousness in late 2015 and shows no signs of slowing down. In today’s climate of chaos and uncertainty it’s not hard to see why people would gravitate towards the paired down, textural simplicity of the Scandinavian home. According to translator ToveMaren Stakkestad “Hygge was never meant to be translated. It was meant to be felt.” So how do you achieve the elusive Hygge? As the main idea is to “relax and feel as at-home as possible, forgetting life’s worries,” the roadmap for this décor is up to interpretation but it has been lending itself – naturally – to raw elements like live edge wood, textured fabrics and warm mood lighting (as always candles). Traditionally Scandinavian décor has been dominated by subdued hues and a lot of white however there is a strong trend towards embracing colour and patterns (mostly folk or crafty) in recent years. The following pages are merely a guide to keep you current with the year’s trends. Mastering the art of Hygge is to create intimacy in any given moment; it’s slowing things down and quality over quantity. So be selective, spend some time doing what you enjoy – with people you enjoy – and fill your space with less “stuff ”, to make room for whatever it is that makes you feel at home. >>

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photo: LisaMTerry on Etsy

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MASTER CRAFT No one can deny the power of Pinterest and while it has an important place in curating our aesthetic preferences, we are starting to see the trend shift from D.I.Y. to appreciating the craftsmanship of artisan wares such as pottery, glass, wood and textiles. >> 1. Bewitched Macrame Wall Hanging $175, by Lisa Terry Makes Stuff; LisaMTerry on Etsy. 2. Wood cutting board and bowl by MJ Dickson at The Craft Arts Market, St. Catharines. 3. Aurora Borealis glass bowl $150, by Studio Vine Glass, Niagara Falls; studiovine.ca 4.Earthenware mugs at Shed Pottery, St. Catharines; shedpotterybyjohann.com. 5.Live Edge Round Walnut Side Table by Square Peg Designs, Niagara; squarepegdesigns.ca.

5 photo: squarepegdesigns.ca.


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TROPICAL PRINTS & A TOUCH OF WHIMSY

Tropical plants have always been aplenty, but this year you will see tropical prints taking over everywhere – used wisely they can add a delightful element to your décor while still being sophisticated.

We love how simple details and a little touch of whimsy can elevate your space to feel – like, well – more space. Pare down the clutter to showcase your conversation pieces and give your plants (and you) room to breathe. It’s hard not to be buoyed by these whimsical prints by Suzi Gordon. Tropical Lions Blue lamp shade $311.68 ; Fight of Stag Pillow $9.65; fabfunkypillows (Etsy).

GEOMETRIC SHAPES

So simple yet so bold. Geometric prints have not seen a resurgence like this since the eighties. The difference? Less neon thankfully. These shapes command attention so change it up. Vary their scale, application, colour or texture. >>

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Metal just continues to become increasingly popular, but copper is shining brighter than the rest this year. It’s warm and unpretentious presence impart subtle glamour and is equally at home with humble or luxe dÊcor. Luxurious textiles such as velvet and sheepskin are in the spotlight for 2017 with the former paired with beautiful jeweled tones striking a bold and comfortable balance. >>

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PAINT TRENDS Muted and calm, these colour trends from the leaders in paint hit the right note for this year’s call for rest and relaxation.


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IGNITE A BETTER YOU //COLUMN

Mind your skin.

Enhancing the way we look is not something to feel guilty about. It is clear from the research that the benefits of investing in our appearance extend beyond aesthetics, says Dr. Christina Plaskos. The new millennium has come with some amazing inventions to make our lives easier and more efficient. From GPS navigation systems, to smart phones with virtually every kind of app and self-driving cars, we are pushing new limits of speed and convenience. However, with routine tasks being performed at unprecedented rates, there is an unforeseen upshot: the evolution of a new set of standards for human output, even within a single day. Most of us can relate to 24-hr schedules that are stacked with commitments we can barely see through. We commute to work and back again, chauffeur the kids here and there, squeeze in a few errands over lunch, and rush off to an afternoon meeting. Every gap in our time is filled. Sound familiar? Unfortunately, performance expectations have evolved faster than we have a species; our basic human needs for functioning are the same as they were a millennium ago, but today those needs are sacrificed to keep up with life. We achieve more in a single day than ever before—but at the price of sleep, nutrition, exercise, mental wellbeing, and appearance. The result is we are more stressed than ever before, while the quality of our individual performance is diminishing. Unfortunately, this accelerated mode of living and collateral stress is experienced so frequently that is has become our culture. Not having time to invest in ourselves is the “norm”. But accepting the situation is not in our favour. As we continue to look less than our best and perform at levels less than we’re capable of, we develop internal dissatisfaction. Having spent much of my life helping people regain control of their ability to look, feel, and perform their best, I have learned that it takes a multifaceted approach involving several elements for optimal wellbeing. One of these is investing in our appearance to kick-start the journey to personal satisfaction. Enhancing the way we look is not something to feel guilty about. It is clear from the research that the benefits of investing in our appearance extend beyond aesthetics. Not only do our perceptions of our physical selves affect our psychology and state of mind, it may also help with professional ambition. Studies show that men and women who were considered more attractive by their peers earned 3 - 4% higher incomes1. Furthermore, one found that women who were well groomed (e.g. hair and make-up done) were regarded as more competent and likeable2. One reason for this is that employers believe (consciously or sub consciously) that employees will care more about the work they are doing for

‘Not having time to invest in ourselves is the “norm”. But accepting the situation is not in our favour…’

the company if they also care about how they present themselves to the world. An important aspect of our appearance—perhaps because it is so immediately apparent—is our skin. Skin is one of the greatest predictors of our age and lifestyle. Medically formulated skin creams are an excellent first step in correcting and preventing skin damage and general aging, but our ‘mind’ plays a significant and often forgotten role in how our skin functions. Essentially, we wear our stress on our skin. The field of psychodermatology (mind-skin) has received more attention recently as scientists are learning the effect our thoughts have on the aging process. Vitamin C, retinol, and peptides are all excellent ingredients but if we are constantly under stress with a racing heart and elevated cortisol levels then even the heavy hitting skin ingredients won’t be as impactful as they could be when we are calmer and in a more balanced state. Studies have shown that chronic stress will increase levels of inflammation in our bodies that can result in several skin issues including: acne, rosacea, and eczema. Moreover, stress-causing inflammation releases substances that will disrupt our skin barrier and break down collagen which can leads to fine lines, redness, and moisture loss3. There are several choices we can make to improve they way we look, feel, and perform. Some are as simple as preparing healthier food, going for a walk, and sleeping earlier. Others will include cosmetic procedures, health care professionals, and high quality supplements. The key is starting somewhere and taking positive steps each day towards better health and happiness. With my patients I discuss the 7 Elements™ and how they provide a complete and holistic approach to optimal wellbeing. Each element is as important as the other and in balance with the rest. Nutrition, exercise, sleep, and stress management comprise the first four elements. These elements are under our control and are only improved through our daily life choices. Outside of these four, professional products and treatments can take you to that next level of looking and feeling your best. These include medically formulated skin care, ingestible supplements, cosmetic procedures, and/or professional massage and chiropractic treatments. But the seventh and most fundamental element, is YOU. A positive and balanced state of mind originating from within will go furthest to help you radiate and draw positivity. Complemented by the other six, YOU are the key element to looking, feeling, and performing your best! References: 1. Hamermesh, D. Beauty Pays: Why Attractive People Are More Successful 2. Etcoff, N. Plos One. 2011: 6(10) 3. Chen, Y. Inflamm Allergy Drug Targets. 2014:13(3)

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Logotherapy

and the meaning of your life By Mariana Bockarova

O

ver the past two years, I have taught a variant of the course ‘Psychology of Relationships’ at the University of Toronto. What makes it amongst the most interesting course topics I have had the pleasure of teaching is the stories that students openly share with me and their fellow classmates. To date, however, no student remains in my mind more than Annabelle*, who had experienced terrible heartbreak and betrayal. After escaping from a treacherous physically abusive and emotionally demoralizing relationship, she had soon met someone kind, with whom she fell in love quickly. Their romance blossomed happily, until her mother, for reasons still unbeknownst to her, informed Annabelle’s partner that she had been unfaithful to him - a complete confabulation. Despite her pleas of innocence, he hastily

ended their relationship, finding it impossible to believe Annabelle’s claim that her own mother would do such a thing to her only daughter. As a result, Annabelle’s life had been ravaged; uprooted in such a way that she had lost all purpose, trust in others, and hope: she was barely able to sit through a lecture without tearing up, and, as I later learned, despite graduating, took none of the employment opportunities offered to her, became completely uninterested in forming any potential romantic connection, and felt the main purpose she once had in life - that is, to build a family and express her warmth and love to those around her - left with her partner. Day after day, she sat at home, devoid of any real responsibility, bitter and barely living. Her life, in a word, was meaningless. >>

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A

ccording to psychiatrist Viktor E. Frankl, our search for meaning is our primary motivation as humans; only when we ascribe meaning to an event, can we accept it and move beyond it, and only when we have meaning in our lives, do we truly live. With this idea, Frankl created what is recognized as the Third Viennese School of Psychotherapy: ‘Logotherapy’. Distinct from Freud’s psychoanalysis and Adler’s individual psychology, Frankl’s meaning-centered approach to therapy is grounded in three basic tenets: (a) Freedom of Will. Frankl posited that as spiritual beings, in addition to having a body and mind, humans are not merely animals that have set ways of reacting to events, but rather, we have the freedom to choose how to respond to the world. This strong existential foundation suggests that at any time, we have control over our circumstances. (b) Will to Meaning All humans are compelled to have a purpose and to achieve goals. Thus, when a person is unable to grasp a purpose in his or her life, the resulting sense of emptiness gives rise to a host of negative affect and effect, from addiction and depression to neurotic disorders and suicide. Instead, one should take on a responsibility and “get to work” in order to find meaning. (c) Meaning in Life Frankl emphasized that there was an objective reality to the meaning of life that was experienced individually, and that this meaning could not be invented, but instead, had to be discovered by the individual. In other words, you would not be able to find another person’s assertion of what you should find meaningful as meaningful. In an example given in his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, Frankl describes a heartbroken man unable to cope with the death of his wife. Frankl asked him, “What would have happened if you had died first, and your wife would have had to survive you?” “Oh,” replied the patient, “for her this would have been terrible; how she would have suffered!” To which Frankl responded, “You

see such a suffering has been spared her; and it is you who have spared her this suffering; but now, you have to pay for it by surviving her and mourning her.” By helping the man find individual meaning in an objectively painful situation, the patient was better able to cope knowing the value of sparring his wife the pain of mourning. Thus, the question is not “what is the meaning of life”, but rather, “each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life...” It is important to note that the conditions that propelled Frankl’s work in meaning-making as a therapy were not those of a “armchair philosophizing”, but instead,

survived the concentration camps. While Frankl found deep meaning in his own experience, how can we find meaning in our lives? In Frankl’s words, “We can discover this meaning in life in three different ways: (1) by creating a work or doing a deed; (2) by experiencing something or encountering someone; and (3) by the attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering”, in which “everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms— to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances”. Indeed, we can find our sense of purpose through action, not inaction, and becoming responsible. As Frankl wrote, “It did not

“everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances”. –Viktor E. Frankl

genuine hardship and pain: In 1942, Frankl was forced into a Jewish ghetto in Germanoccupied Czechoslovakia, along with his wife, brother, parents, and nearly 150,000 Jews. From there, he escaped death from Auschwitz, a concentration camp claiming the lives of 1.3 million, lived through the horrors of working as a slave labourer in a second concentration camp, and eventually came to working as a physician in degrading conditions at a third camp. During this hellish time, Frankl kept himself from nihilistic and suicidal thoughts by finding purpose in recreating his life’s work - a manuscript he had sewn into the lining of his coat, which he had to discard during his transfer to Auschwitz - by writing on every scrap of paper he could find; convincing himself that his family was alive; keeping other prisoners from committing suicide by reminding them of their purpose; and, indeed, even finding purpose in his pain. Finally, he was liberated by American soldiers on April 27, 1945. He was the only member of his family who

really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those being questioned by life – daily and hourly. Our answer must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual.” This means, more practically speaking, that people should strive to find purpose in their daily responsibilities. If you find your work meaningless but are, financially or otherwise, unable to have a more meaningful career, mentoring junior colleagues or ensuring that everything you are tasked is done well could bring a revivified sense of meaning. Outside of work, cultivating hobbies and exploring new or existing passions could further add to develop a deep inner world and lead to an enriched life. The second way of finding meaning is through love: “For the first time in my life

I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth – that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which Man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of Man is through love and in love.” While we tend to think of love as wholly romantic, this needn’t always be the case: Being effortful in any relationship, and a focused sense of building love between your friends and family, as well as having an appreciation for the love received, can further create a more purposeful life. Paying more attention to what those around you do well, instead of looking firstly at their faults, is a good place to start. Lastly, remaining optimistic and comporting oneself with dignity, in spite of the “tragic triad”, that is, the pain, guilt, and death that each human will encounter in his or her life, can add dignity and meaning. As Frankl writes, “(t)he one thing you can’t take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me. The last of one’s freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstance.” Being mindful in how we choose to react to the stressors of life can certainly impact the outcome, even if the only outcome we can control is simply how we feel about our actions. In a situation where nothing can be done, what Frankl emphasized is the idea that a person can always choose his or her response, and there is responsibility and potential dignity to be found in that choice. For Annabelle, she eventually found her purpose by realizing that despite falling victim to a malevolent act and losing genuine love, her unique ability to give love and radiate warmth was not specific to her ex-partner and it deserved to be shared with others. This ignited her hope in meeting someone new and propelled her towards a career. She eventually found a loving partner, purposeful and enjoyable employment in a caring profession, and now reflects on the years of her suffering with pride, grateful for how she chose to surmount her pain; that is, meaningfully. *Name changed for privacy.


George Stathakis: BY SHERMAN ZAVITZ

A SELF-STYLED MYSTIC TAKES ON NIAGARA FALLS

B

orn in Greece, George Stathakis arrived in the United States in 1910 at the age of twenty-six. Working as a short-order cook, he lived in St. Louis for a time before moving to Niagara Falls, New York, and then Buffalo. Stathakis was much more than a cook, however. He was also a self-styled mystic and philosopher whose writings stated he had actually been born “a thousand years ago on the banks of a river in central Africa called Abraham.” He also maintained that he was the first person to stand at the North Pole. While there he proclaimed himself as “king and master of the earth and from this summit I am going to rule and direct it.” Stathakis’s version of his life and his philosophy were detailed in a book he authored entitled The Mysterious Veil of Humanity through the Ages. Much of the book, which was available in both Greek and English, has Stathakis interviewing ancient Greek philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle. Another of his writings described how, in a previous life, he had visited the future site of Niagara Falls: “Walking to the southeast, I arrived where the falls now is. They were not formed at that time.” By the spring of 1930, George Stathakis had decided on a bold move – he would go over the Canadian Horseshoe Falls in a barrel. He explained his decision by stating that such an experience would help him in his search for truth. As he bounced through the rapids and over the Falls, he could analyze his emotions and detach his mind

philosophically for future meditation. What all this meant was a mystery to most. Following his plunge, Stathakis was sure plenty of money would flow his way from lectures and newsreels. These funds would finance a new book he was writing. It was to be titled From the Bosom of Niagara. The wood and steel barrel a Buffalo cooperage built for him weighed almost a tonne (1 ton). One end was a steel cap while the other had a steel hatch secured with 16 bolts. With Stathakis stowed inside, the barrel was cut loose just downriver from Navy Island, about 4.8 kilometres (3 miles) above the falls, at 3:20 pm, Saturday, July 5, 1930. Going along for the ride was his pet turtle Sonny Boy that, according to his owner, was 105 years old and could talk. Supposedly venerated by a Greek cult, Stathakis said if the turtle survived and he didn’t, Sonny Boy would “carry the secret of the trip and would reveal it at the proper time.” At 3:35 the barrel slipped over the brink of the Horseshoe Falls and plunged into the gorge below. Waiting in a rowboat was famed riverman William “Red” Hill Sr. But there was no sign of the barrel. It was trapped behind the wall of water and remained there for about 14 hours - until just after dawn the following morning. When the barrel finally shot out into the main stream, Hill managed to bring it ashore. Hours more were needed to remove the many bolts that held the hatch in place.

As expected, Stathakis, lying on a soaked mattress, was dead. He had suffocated since there had only been a three-hour supply of oxygen in the barrel. Sonny Boy, however, was found alive and well. Within a few days, ‘Red” Hill was exhibiting the sacred turtle, Stathakis’s barrel and one of his own in a tent behind the Lafayette Hotel. The hotel was on River Road, close to where the Rainbow Bridge is now. Hill also operated a taxi business from the tent. At first, everything went well. Then the unthinkable happened. Around noon on Thursday, July 10, the turtle was stolen. As the local press reported, “A little boy in the tent told Hill that he had seen a man reach down, put the turtle under his coat and walk out.” From the boy’s description, Hill was sure he knew the man’s identity since he had met and talked to him earlier. The visitor, Hill remembered, was from Uniontown, Pennsylvania, and was staying at a Buffalo hotel. Hill jumped into his taxi and raced to Buffalo, but the turtle thief had eluded him. Authorities in Uniontown were then asked to be on the lookout. They eventually recovered the turtle and shipped it back to Hill in a small wooden box. Sonny Boy died the next year without ever revealing “the secret of the trip.”


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TIME MANAGEMENT

//BUSINESS

by: Mariana Bockarova

101 How would you define time management?

Time management is a process of noticing how you spend your time doing things and making a choice about how you choose to utilize the time you have... it’s not that easy a question to answer because most people don’t define it. They know they have an issue or problem, but they don’t call it a ‘time management’ problem: They say they can’t get their best work done, or there are too many things to do on their to-do list, or they are being interrupted all the time, or they have excuses for what’s wrong with their efficiency; but they aren’t calling it time management. So, time management is a state of being, a mindset, it’s a way you look at how you want to live your life and the intentions you have for supporting that life and being the best person in every moment of your life. Only you can define how that will unfold, but you can take advantage of different techniques, systems and mindsets so that you can notice how you spend your time and whether it’s living up to your aspirations.

As an expert, what are your top tips for time management? The first tip is an easy one, but sometimes people overlook it: Set yourself up for easy wins every day. Now, how do we define that? Highly productive executives and business professionals, whom I have interviewed or worked with over the past 25 years or so, do something different, something special with their time. One of these things is to set themselves up for easy wins. What they do is have a to-do list, then they prioritize that list, choose the most urgent of those priorities and do some of the fastest things on their list; that could be a quick, high-priority email or a phone call, for instance. They use a timer or stopwatch to keep their mind focused on the task. They also stack meetings and activities. We tend to be more efficient when we do similar activities, so you can stack meetings (have one after the other) or emails or telephone calls. I find that if I do those kinds of things

As a finite resource for each human being, time is an important concept which shapes the way we create our goals, structure our priorities, and even frame our lives. Studies have found that the ability to successfully manage time has a direct and positive effect on our self-efficacy, our ability to alleviate work-related stress, the satisfaction we feel in our job, and even our health. With overwhelming benefits, why is it that even when we know we should be managing our time effectively, we don’t? I asked Kathryn McKinnon, CEO and Founder of the time management firm McKinnon & Company, to find out. As a Harvard Business School and Fortune 500 Executive Coach, speaker featured on CBS Radio and CBS News, a Top 100 productivity expert to follow on Twitter, and a bestselling author of the book, Triple Your Time Today, on Amazon, I knew I would be in good hands.

one after another, my mind is much more efficient because I know that the next activity is similar. The second tip is to use my email system, which incorporates my 6-12-6 Rule. I want to highlight a client of mine: He was so bogged down with email that he couldn’t get his best work done. He was spending 4-5 hours a day on email, which was a lot of time. We did an analysis and discovered that 60% of the email he was working on weren’t even related to his priorities or his true work. So, I taught him my email system to help him with email and accomplish his most important work, so he could work on email, but not all day long. I had him scan his email early in the morning (six o’clock), at lunchtime (noon) and then again at the end of the day (six o’clock p.m.). He scheduled time to work on email, but not all day long. He went through his email and picked out the ones related to his highest priorities; the other email he had someone else handle, filed or pushed off to another scheduled time or day. So, I recommend you designate time to work on email; a couple of hours a day, but not all day long. You also need to delete non-essential email, don’t respond to every email, unsubscribe from unessential news and categorize or file your email to access work easily. As a result, [my client] saved 10 hours per week just by reorganizing his time. We didn’t reinvent the wheel; we just tweaked his system so that it was more efficient for him. My third tip is to keep tight control over your schedule and your calendar. What I recommend you do is organize your activities into ‘one capture system’ which will show you your real available time: You put all your tasks and activities in your calendar, professional and personal, and block out time so you can complete your most important tasks and goals. It prevents double booking, and lets your calendar run your day instead of letting your day run your calendar. It makes you choose your priorities and helps you see what’s most important to you, because at the end of the day you’re going to spend your time on what really matters to you the most. >>


RESEARCH TELLS US THE HUMAN BRAIN IS JUST NOT SET UP FOR MULTI-TASKING WHEN YOU NEED TO CONCENTRATE OR FOCUS ON IMPORTANT WORK. What about procrastinators who rarely follow time management techniques; do the same tips apply? When I ask my clients why they procrastinate on their goals, they tell me they don’t know where to start or what to do next, or the task they are about to undertake seems too big or difficult, so they avoid it until the pressure gets to them. Others procrastinate for fear of failure; if they try to reach a goal and fail, they’ll feel that they’ve let themselves or others down, so they don’t even get to the starting block. Others procrastinate as a way of maintaining control over their world. Procrastination is simply a habit or behaviour, and if you know why you’re procrastinating, you can start to address this by applying what I call my “seven productivity shortcuts” to get out of procrastination and into action fast: 1. Pick a clear and a reasonable goal that you want to accomplish and create a brief plan of action. You have a clear goal that you can accomplish within a few steps. 2. Break your goal down into manageable sized activities. You put these into your calendar so you can work on them every day. For instance, I wrote and published my book in 90 days. I had a goal, and every day I decided to tackle a piece of the project, so I broke the book up into chapters and topics I wanted to address. I created case studies around each of the issues, and I used my timer. I immersed myself in it and didn’t do anything else; I didn’t check emails, I didn’t take phone calls. Because I broke that whole project into little pieces, it didn’t seem so big; it was manageable. 3. Select one single task and start on it, immediately. A lot of people who procrastinate don’t know where to start, so I say just pick something, the hardest or easiest thing. Just pick something because you’ll never get started if you don’t pick something. 4. Limit the number of tasks on your to-do- list. I have an intention every day to accomplish one 5. or two major goals. I usually don’t have more than three priorities on my to-do list and so I accomplish them. When I finish them, I go onto something that maybe wasn’t a priority, but still needs to get done. 6. Select a small part of a big job, and only do that one piece to get started. Create a deadline for your overall project, and then work backwards to set deadlines for smaller parts of the project.

7. Set a time limit for the project and create milestones for accomplishing smaller tasks. That way if you have a major task, you can work on it every day or every week, so you don’t wait until the deadline to start. 8. Notice your successes and reward yourself for completing a job well done. A lot of people take their success for granted and don’t notice when they’ve done a good job, and as a result, to them, it doesn’t seem that they’ve accomplished anything at all. But, the fact is, they haven’t noticed their successes. When you start to keep track of your success, you will notice how productive you actually have been and that becomes your motivation to keep yourself on track. Ultimately, you always have a choice with how you spend your time; it’s not how much time you have that matters, what matters most is how you choose to spend the time you have.

In my past, I’ve found that when I’m in a crunch for time, I tend to multi-task. What is your take on multi-tasking? Is it the time-saver it promises to be? The fact is you end up losing a lot of time when you multitask because of do-over work, because you didn’t really comprehend what you just read while doing something else, or you didn’t really understand the task. I don’t recommend it: Research tells us the human brain is just not set up for multi-tasking when you need to concentrate or focus on important work.

Another issue many people experience – I know I certainly have – is having a hard time saying ‘no’ to co-workers. For the people pleaser in all of us, how would you recommend saying ‘no’? While always saying yes is admirable, it puts other people’s needs before your own. When you say yes to someone else, you say no to yourself. Highly productive executives and professionals understand when to say no. Throughout their day they ask themselves if how they are spending their time is their priority or someone else’s. If it’s someone else’s priority, then it’s time to say no. So, they don’t take every phone call, they don’t attend every meeting, or they pick and choose the meetings they have to be at. They are easily accessible, but they are not always available - there’s a difference. They also take time for themselves, and recognize how important it is to maintain a healthy mind, body and spirit. They build healthy

boundaries and don’t take their time for granted. They say, “I can’t help you right now but let’s set up a time when we can talk”. The average office manager is interrupted every 10 minutes or so while it takes about 25 minutes to get your focus back to where you were before you were interrupted. So, if you’re interrupted twice in an hour, you’ve lost an hour of focused time. If you’re interrupted all day long, you’ve had no time to focus. Highly productive managers and executives understand the need for focused time. They block out uninterrupted time to do their most important work and they also plan for interruptions. You block out a couple of the hours in your day for interruptions; and during that time you might be doing low priority work like emails while anticipating the interruptions. Get people used to the fact that you respect your own time, because if you don’t, others won’t either. You don’t have to have an open door policy, people can reach you by making an appointment to meet with you, or you can have a block of time during the day when your office door is open or you’re available for phone calls. That way your office is not a revolving door all day long.

Lastly, how do you manage the personal-professional barrier? When you allow your work to migrate into your personal life, then you become a workaholic. Most of the stress I see coming from executives and professionals is from not managing those barriers. There’s a time and place for work, and there’s a time and place for pleasure, and if you don’t allow yourself time for both, you’re not going to have balance in your life. So, I recommend you track your time for a day and record all the things you spend time on and how much time you spend on each activity. The more you track how you really spend your time, the easier it’ll be to see if there are any patterns occurring, when you’re most productive, least productive, if you have unhealthy habits, when you procrastinate, why you can’t get as much done as you’d like, and where you can improve your productivity. Once you know what’s getting in your way and you’re committed to making a change, then you can start to take some steps to avoid these pitfalls and really improve your productivity. For more information, Kathryn can be reached at support@ Kathryn-McKinnon.com


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TRULY LOCAL ADVICE //COLUMN

First time home buyer in Niagara?

Be Prepared, Be Realistic, and Don’t Forget to Be Optimistic

Throughout 2016, Niagara residents had to deal with GTA residents branching out and claiming Niagara communities as their suburbs. While we may not be ready to let go of our small fry status – we may not have a choice! GO Train expansion plans and residential developments in several communities are making Niagara a desirable destination. Not to mention that a home in Niagara may cost nearly $1 million less than the equivalent home in the GTA. Our communities have a lot to offer to both native and new Niagara residents. Unfortunately, this real estate trend also offers a host of challenges for Niagara’s first time home buyers.

Availability & Affordability With fewer homes for sale and an influx of buyers, an extremely competitive market has emerged. In the search for a first home, Niagara residents are struggling with the issue of affordability. For years, Niagara’s real estate market was undervalued. That has changed in the last 2 years, with the average sales price jumping from $272,813 in 2015 to $337,888 in 2017. These prices remain small potatoes for GTA buyers, but may seem like huge vats of boiling oil for Niagara residents. In a region that faces lower average incomes, residents often struggle to save the necessary down payments and secure the proper financing for first time home purchases. As Garden City Re/Max realtor Jordan Clark surmises, “We are currently experiencing the lowest market inventory we have had in Niagara in 15+ years, mixed with the quickly increasing prices this does not allow for a great deal of selection or time for lengthy consideration. When a buyer does find a house that fits their criteria they have to act diligently and with speed to ensure they can obtain the property. Many listings end up in competition which adds to the difficulty and causes many purchasers to drop their home inspection and

financing condition rights as well as put down a hefty offer to ensure they secure what they want, often times even this does not guarantee a successful purchase!”

etc.) in owning a home. Although you may appreciate a modern kitchen, wouldn’t it be more practical to buy a home with a rental unit in it to help cover your mortgage payments?

Financing

Secure financing before viewing homes: Meet with

Adding to the woes of Niagara’s first time home buyers, CMHC introduced new mortgage guidelines for buyers in 2016. For mortgage applicants that cannot afford a 20% (or more) down payment, they must now pass a stress test. They must be able to afford the bank rate of their potential mortgage (around 4.64% now), instead of the promotional rates (around 2.5% now). This means first time home buyer’s purchasing power is reduced. The guidelines were meant to protect buyers from overspending today in case mortgage rates rose in the future. Unfortunately, this means that many first time buyers can’t buy anything until the future when they have bigger down payments.

Get expert realty advice: Meet with a credible realtor

get ahead…

So with a real estate market akin to vats of bubbling oil, how do Niagara residents wade through the potatoes to find the perfect small fry of their own?

Build up your down payment: I recommend meeting with a financial advisor to create a plan for saving for a home (it may include investments, preauthorized savings withdrawals, fewer trips to Beechwood donuts, etc.) and start saving early in any way you can.

Be realistic: Assess what you want in a new home and what you need. Then balance that against what you can afford. Learn about all of the costs involved (legal, home inspection, down payments, mortgages, maintenance costs,

a financial advisor to discuss funding before house hunting. Assess your budget for purchasing and ongoing financing. Then get preapproved for the mortgage you need to buy the home you want and have your advisor ready to work through the details as soon as you want to make an offer on a home.

to find the home that is right for you and your budget. Work with an agent who is fast, knowledgeable, hardworking, and able to negotiate with confidence.

Consider shopping with a home inspector: With buyers going into home viewings with cash offers and waived conditions, there is no time to wait for home inspections. Ben Ellens, a Niagara real estate appraiser, advises bringing a home inspector to do a pre-offer walk-through inspection. This helps you shop smart and allows you to act fast when you find a home that works for you. Above all, remain optimistic and flexible... and try not to get overwhelmed or discouraged. Realtor Jordan Clark notes that “I find myself more and more acting as a counsellor and life-coach to ensure my buyers are keeping in a positive state of mind so they don’t abandon their search and remain a lifelong renter handing over the majority or their hard earned money to some landlord instead of building equity and truly having a place they can call their home.” Homes may be more expensive, and competition may be steep, but we are a resourceful bunch. With the help of a good financial advisor, a dedicated realtor, preapproved financing, and a dash of planning and patience, the majority of Niagara residents can look forward to owning their first home.

Adam Rempel

is a Financial Services Specialist at PenFinancial Credit Union todaymagazine.ca 67


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above A CUT

MEET THE CANADIAN COMPANY THAT GIVES BACK BY EMPLOYING VETERANS IN THEIR QUEST TO PROVIDE QUALITY DOG TREATS FOR MAN’S BEST FRIEND. By Jill Tham

I

n 2007 Annemarie Bolle was given the email address of Sergeant Leendert Bolle. Trusting that her sister-in-law knew the two would be a good match, she began emailing him. It wasn’t long before their long distance romance flourished. After his deployment, the two met in Germany and four months later they were married. In July of 2012, the couple was approached by a friend who worked at

Big Country Raw, a raw pet food company, to create a simple product; an all-natural, one ingredient, dehydrated dog treat. “We had a customer before we had a product,” says Annemarie Bolle, Owner of Hero Dog Treats. There was just one catch; Leendert was still on tour in Canada. Annemarie worked diligently to get the business off the ground until Leendert retired from the Armed Forces. >>

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AS PART OF THEIR BUSINESS MODEL, THE COUPLE EMPLOYS MILITARY VETERANS. “WE WANT TO MAKE THE TRANSITION TO ‘NORMAL LIFE’ EASIER FOR THEM,” EXPLAINS BOLLE.

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Hero Dog Treats originated in the couple’s home. Cutting the meat in their kitchen and packaging the dehydrated food in their basement in Pembroke, continued until the business outgrew their home. The couple packed up and moved to St. Catharines and into a warehouse on Queenston Street that has a complete preparation, packaging, and distribution centre. Hanging on the wall of their current processing facility is a picture of their daughter crawling around at Leendert’s feet as he cuts the meat in preparation for the dehydrator. A reminder of how far the business has expanded in the last five years. Conveniently, Hero Dog Treats can be purchased on-line. The all natural products are designed with your dog’s needs in mind and with Hero Dog Treats you know exactly what you are feeding your pet. Their pure and odour free products are made by taking the meat directly from the cutter and into the dehydrator with no added fillers, additives, or preservatives that can interfere with your dog’s digestive system. These dehydrated treats help improve digestion, promote healthier skin and coats, and reduce allergy symptoms for dogs. Along with a variety of treats made in Canada, the company also carries a full line of supplements and kangaroo treats from Australia. While preparing to retire from the armed forces, Leendert was given the opportunity to participate in the Prince’s Operation Entrepreneur Program (POE). A program that assists veterans

in making the switch from army life to working in the community with the goal of running their own business. “People in the Military have been taught to serve, told what to do, when to show up, and how long to exercise for. They have lived so long in that support group and when they come back to ‘normal life’ that support group is gone,” she explains. Bolle is pleased with the guidance received by the program and highly recommend the program for veterans. “My husband had a lot of knowledge and the program showed him what to do with his knowledge,” says Bolle. “They helped make the transition easier.” Hero Dog Treats is focused on giving back to the community and those who have served for Canada. Canadian Service Dog Foundation and Sheepdog Lodge, both programs that aid veterans, are charities that the couple is passionate about. As part of their business model, the couple employs military veterans. “We want to make the transition to ‘normal life’ easier for them,” explains Bolle. Hero Dog Treats also supports Community Living by hiring individuals with intellectual disabilities. “I love helping others. If I was still a nurse I would donate, but as a company you can do more than that,” says Bolle. Before each product is ready for packaging, it must pass a rigorous test by none other than Penny, the family’s Bernese mountain dog. “We make sure the dogs like the product and if they can chew it before it hits the market,” says Bolle. With Hero Dog Treats new products are always

in the works. “One day I noticed bins of peanut butter and wondered why they don’t make it for a dog.” This inspired Bolle to make a peanut butter for dogs packaged in a tube; a practical solution for using the peanut butter to administer medication to your dog. “It is an all-natural product that can be given out of a spout so it is easier to get out. It is fresher and you go through it faster, so it won’t clump. My dog loves it too,” says Bolle. “New ideas come from a combination of customer requests and when I walk through stores.” Annemarie is pleased with the choices she has made to leave the nursing profession and work side by side with her husband, “I am my own boss and there is a lot of diversity: talking to customers, and suppliers and coming up with ideas, packaging, and marketing,” says Bolle. Quality, charity and family are three areas that the Hero Dog Treats is consistently committed to. As their family has grown with the business, and now includes four children all under the age of six, they continue to produce a high quality product for your pet. When asked the best advice she can give to new entrepreneurs Bolle answers, “Never give up. Stay focused on one thing and put your energy into it. You have to push yourself. Take advice from people in the industry and find people to network with. My husband and I build this together, we don’t have investors or partners. We have a lot of responsibility and a lot of fun. What I love is the hard work.”


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BY ANDREW HIND On July 1, 1867 the British colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick were united into one Dominion of Canada, culminating a process that began three years earlier. Upon Confederation, the former province of Canada was split into the provinces of Ontario and Quebec.

It was, in many ways, the birth of modern-Canada and our political system. In 2017, Canada will celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation with special events from coast to coast. Niagara is no exception. >>

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NIAGARA - ON - THE - LAKE

NIAGARA FALLS

Niagara-on-the-Lake began its Canada Day festivities early. Last fall, 1200 students from the public schools in town were dressed in red and white and arranged on the hillside of Fort George to create a vivid living flag. The community also kicked in the anniversary year with the first-ever New Year’s party on Queen’s Street. Naturally, however, the best is yet to come. “Thanks in part to a $400,000 grant from Ontario 150, we will be holding five big events—as well as a number of smaller ones—in Niagara-on-the-Lake this year,” enthuses Bill French, Communications Committee Chair for NotL Canada 150 Committee. The Canada Day Celebration gets an early start in June 30, with family-friendly entertainment, including fireworks, at Virgil Sports Park. July 1 is, in the words of French, “a huge day here in NotL.” Wake early to fill your belly at the Rotary Pancake Breakfast in Simcoe Park, then watch as the 41st Regiment Fife and Drum Corps leads a giant birthday cake down Queen Street to the park. Head over to War of 1812-era Fort George National Historic Site, open 8am-10pm and free all day, to continue the party. Listen to period music, tour the heritage site, and watch musketry and cannon demonstrations. “The day concludes with a concert and fireworks display within the Fort, expected to see 30,000 people,” explains French. The celebration continues July 3 with a family-themed event at Simcoe Park with music and activities directed towards little ones. That same day, a fleet of impressive tall-rigged sailing vessels arrive in Niagara-on-the-Lake as part of the Tall Ships Rendezvous. The vessels are open to the public on July 4 and 5, before raising sail once again and departing on the 6th. “In addition to being Canada’s 150th, this year marks the 225th anniversary of Ontario’s first Parliament, held here in Niagara-on-the-Lake. It’s an important event in its own right,” says French. “To commemorate, we’ll hold a celebration in Fort George on September 17.” Finally, throughout the year, NotL will host the Confederation Celebration, a 1-hour travelling show that visits 20 venues May through to September. On a mobile stage, local actors and musicians depict a series of scenes relating significant events in Niagara-on-the-Lake’s long and rich history up to Confederation, culminating in a fireworks display. Fun and educational, Confederation Canada promises to be a hit. For more information and a complete listing of events go to notlcanada150.ca

The City of Niagara Falls knows how to make a spectacle. Perhaps the majesty of the roaring Falls has forced the community to develop a sense of showmanship in order to draw some attention away from the Falls and onto the appeal of the City itself. Little wonder then that the City of Niagara Falls, in partnership with the Downtown BIA, should be hosting a truly spectacular Canada 150 Celebration from June 30 to July 2. While all details and participating events have not yet been finalized, what has emerged thus far promises a long weekend of excitement with something for everyone. On July 1, Niagara Falls hosts its annual Niagara Day parade along Victoria and Queen Street, starting at 11am. After this, Queen Street closes from 1-4 for a Street Party that will includes free birthday cake at City Hall, free inflatables for children to squeal upon as they climb and bounce and tumble the afternoon away, children’s entertainment, dozens of buskers and food vendors, musicians, a car show, an art show, and more. It’s a party, and you’re invited! From 4-9pm, there will be free live entertainment by a number of talented musicians on the Main Stage at City Hall. Also on July 1 will be the Carmel Fine Art and Music Festival. As part of this celebration, the Canada Day Queen Street Art Show will run from 9am to 5pm, with over 100 of Southern Ontario’s finest artists representing a variety of mediums. From 1-5pm, enjoy local musicians in a number of musical styles, ranging from soul to jazz to folk. For more information on the Carmel Fine Art and Music Festival, go to niagarartsshowcase.com/ carmel-fine-art-and-music-festival. More events for the City of Niagara Falls’ Canada 150 Celebration are currently being finalized. To keep abreast of them and ensure you don’t miss the fun, go to niagarafalls.ca

ST. CATHARINES The beautiful garden city also has several events going on in celebration of the big 150. Some highlights include an exhibit at the St. Catharines Museum celebrating 50 years of the St. Catharines Museum, which is running until December 2017. On Friday, September 8th, the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre will host Canada 150-Celebration of Nations, a three day Indigenous arts festival. Get you tickets at firstontariopac.ca

FORT ERIE Like most every community across the nation, Fort Erie will host joyful Canada Day celebrations this July 1. But Fort Erie’s event has something few others will boast, something that marks this community’s Canada Day celebrations as something truly special. The Town of Fort Erie received a grant from the Niagara Community Foundation to participate in the Canada 150 Mosaic project, a nationwide initiative that will create 150 murals in 150 communities by July 2017. Every participating community was asked to provide one object that famously represented their town, which would be the subject of their given mural. Perhaps naturally, Fort Erie selected the War of 1812-era Old Fort, after which the community is named and which played such a central role in the defining war against the United States. Fort Erie’s mural will be based on a design by artist, Lewis Lavoie. Within the larger mural of the Old Fort will be 400 4 x 4 inch panels on which participants will create a painting that represents their community from their own creative perspective. When placed together, they will become a piece of a much bigger story, that of the Old Fort. The mural will be unveiled closer to July 1st in the Leisureplex, and will also be linked virtually with all other murals across the Country (canada150mosaic.com/)


COUNTRY WIDE ACTIVITIES!

Celebrate with the rest of the nation by taking part in one of the many country wide programs currently on the go.

ON THIS DAY

For a daily infusion of Canadian history check out bac-lac.gc.ca/en/ onthisday. A very cool resource from Library and Archives Canada that lets you know what happened in history on this day in Canada. Download the Passport 2017 app to see everything that’s going on throughout the country.

PARTICIPACTION 150

This is a list of 150 activities that make us quintessentially Canadian. Sign up, log your activities, and see how many you can complete in 2017. More info at participaction.com

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Baby, I’m Amazed by Megan Pasche

Corn, wood, shrubs and mirrors…the concept of the maze has been around for thousands of years, making it one of the oldest forms of entertainment. Something about getting temporarily lost holds an enduring sense of excitement for us all. The purpose of a maze has certainly changed over the centuries, but in ancient times, they were known as labyrinths and it was more of a spiritual journey than anything else. Whereas the mazes of today are meant to disorientate and trick, labyrinths were more of a long winding path meant for enlightenment. Labyrinths are unicurval and mazes are branching. Meaning, mazes are a collection of several paths, one of

which the traveler must ascertain to be the correct one. Labyrinths are winding and possibly disorientating, but the path always leads directly to the endpoint. At some point after the Middle Ages, the labyrinths evolved from a religious journey to more of a game. Royalty would often have grand gardens, which served as entertainment not just for them, but for their guests as well. Mazes of today are meant to disorientate and confuse, and nowhere is this more true than a mirror maze. So it’s apt that the newest addition to the attractions on Clifton Hill are two new mazes, a mirror maze and a laser maze. Mirrors were invented in 1835 by a German chemist by the name of Justus von Liebig. The first maze of mirrors didn’t

appear until 1891 in Prague at the Jubilee Exhibition, although there were a couple others that were rumoured to have been opened around the same time. They only grew in popularity from there, spreading to fairs and exhibitions in North America as well. Debbie Graham, the attractions manager for the Niagara Clifton Group, notes that a mirror maze has been something they’ve been wanting to open on Clifton Hill for quite some time now, and when the space became available recently, they jumped on the chance. Opening in May 2017, the Big Top Mirror and Laser Maze is set to add a new element of excitement to the already pulsing “street of fun”.

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events. festivals. entertainment. RAY LAMONTAGNE MARCH 29 | FALLSVIEW CASINO RESORT | 8:30PM Grammy Award winning, singer-songwriter Ray LaMontagne brings his unique vocal style to Fallsview with his critically acclaimed hits such as “Supernova”, “All the Wild Horses”, “Trouble”, “Jolene” and more. Must be 19 years of age or older with valid Governmentissued photo ID to purchase tickets or attend Concerts & Events at Fallsview Casino Resort. Individuals who have voluntarily excluded themselves from Ontario gaming sites and who have not been reinstated are not permitted in the Avalon Theatre. For ticket information visit fallsviewcasinoresort.com/entertainment/event/ray-lamontagne

THE HONOURING MARCH 31 | FIRSTONTARIO PERFORMING ARTS CENTRE Kaha:wi Dance Theatre fuses Indigenous and contemporary dance into a compelling choreographic performance.

7TH ANNUAL GREATER NIAGARA REGION HOME & GARDEN SHOW MARCH 31 - APRIL 2 | SCOTIABANK CONVENTION CENTRE FRIDAY: 2PM-6PM, SAT:10AM-6PM, SUN: 11AM-5PM. The entire Scotiabank Centre will be completely transformed, for one weekend only, into a Home and Garden Extravaganza.

There will be: Complete Home Improvement Zone Contractors & Remodelers Roofing, Concrete Resurfacing & Foundation Repair Pool & Spa Showcase Landscape Garden & Outdoor Living Showcase For more info: niagarahomeandgardenshow.ca or contact us at info@showtechnology.com

MOVIE NIGHTS THURSDAYS IN APRIL | OLD FORT ERIE Relive history at Niagara Parks. Throughout the year Niagara Parks Heritage will be presenting specially selected films at our historic Old Fort Erie. Featuring award-winning classics and culturally important recent releases, all presented in our grand and storied venue. You won’t just be watching history, you’ll be living it. Doors open 30 minutes before showings. Drinks, popcorn and light snacks are available for purchase. APRIL 6 | Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery APRIL 13 | Police Academy APRIL 20 | Passchendaele APRIL 27 | The Martian More info: niagaraparks.com/niagara-falls-events/fridaynight-flicks.html

LIFE ’N STYLE NIAGARA APRIL 2 | CLUB ITALIA | 12PM - 5PM Life ’N Style Niagara is a unique marketplace and shopping experience amongst local artisans & DIY workshops. Attendees will be able to savour local cuisine & sample wine while enjoying our fashion show, connect with interactive walking models and special fashion featurettes placed throughout the show. 905-641-2252 Ext. 6406 lifenstyle2017@gmail.com manyhandsevents.wixsite.com/mhpevents/life-n-style

HEAR! HERE! NIAGARA MUSIC SERIES APRIL 2 | FIRSTONTARIO PERFORMING ARTS A Niagara original music series hosted by the Mark Lalama Trio and featuring special guests Marc Jordan, Johnny Johnson + Elton Lammie.

JUST FOR LAUGHS ROAD SHOW APRIL 2 | FIRSTONTARIO PERFORMING ARTS CENTRE, PARTRIDGE HALL | 7:30PM Entering its 14th year, The Just For Laughs Road Show features some of the best stand-up comedians straight from the world’s largest and most prestigious comedy festival. Get ready for a night of sidesplitting comedy with an always stellar lineup. Get tickets at firstontariopac.ca. >>

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A CULINARY TOUR OF MARCHE APRIL 7 | THE RAINBOW ROOM BY MASSIMO CAPRA

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Join Chef Massimo Capra and Executive Chef John Casciato on A Culinary Tour of Marche, one of Italy’s most underrated yet spectacular regions. Marche is bordered by Umbria, Abruzzo, Tuscany, and Lazio and has long been overshadowed by its more well-known neighbours. But this spectacular evening will bring the wine and cuisine of Marche to the forefront with a five-course dinner menu and wine pairings from Garofoli Winery. Marche is located on the coast of the Adriatic Sea, offering an abundance of delicious seafood dishes, while also serving as a significant wine-growing region that produces stellar wines like Rosso Conero DOC and Verdicchio dei Castelli. Explore the culinary wonders of Marche with Chef Massimo Capra and find out what makes this hidden gem of Italy so remarkable.

ONE NIGHT’S ACCOMMODATION IN A FALLSVIEW ROOM MIX AND MINGLE WITH CHEFS MASSIMO CAPRA & JOHN CASCIATO STANDING COCKTAIL RECEPTION WITH CANAPES AND PAIRING 5 COURSE DINNER AND WINE PAIRINGS FROM GAROFOLI WINES More information at fallsavenueresort.com/culinary/event/ culinary-tour-marche/

COWBOY BOOTS & HOMETOWN ROOTS APRIL 8 | CLUB CASTROPIGNANO | 7PM - 11PM Niagara College Event Management presents Cowboy Boots and Hometown Roots, a country celebration to honour 20 years of the Many Hands Project. The evening will be hosted by Country 89 with musical headliner Brad Battle, special guest Ashlynne Vince and DJ services from By Request Entertainment. Come enjoy southern comfort foods, line dancing and other great country activities. Tickets are only $25 with all proceeds going to Hotel Dieu Shaver, Niagara Region’s only rehabilitation facility. These proceeds will support the creation of Hotel Dieu Shaver’s Marketplace where therapists aim to rehabilitate patients by incorporating real-world obstacles such as shopping, banking and dining out. More info at manyhandsevents.wixsite.com/mhpevents/country-night

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PETS ALIVE NIAGARA ANNUAL FUNDRAISER APRIL 8 | 6:30PM | ROYAL CANADIAN LEGION POLISH BRANCH Join in and celebrate this charity efforts in their fourth year of rescuing animals in the Niagara Region. Tickets are $35 each, and include homemade polish cuisine (vegan options will be available), live entertainment by “The Madhatters”, a silent auction and more. All proceeds go to Pets Alive Niagara to help support this charity. Tickets are available at Pet Valu Pendale Plaza or contact petsaliveashley@gmail.com; 905-327-7566.

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JOHNNY CASH BASH APRIL 8 | 8PM - 10PM | NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE LEGION Johnny Cash Bash performed by Marty Allen. Come dressed in your Harley gear. Best Harley dresser wins $100. General admission tickets are $20 and available at NOTL Royal Canadian Legion or by phone at 905-325-5704.

ABSOLUTE JOURNEY THE INTERNATIONAL TRIBUTE TO JOURNEY APRIL 12 | GREG FREWIN THEATRE | 8PM Absolute Journey Tribute is one of the most acclaimed rising tribute acts in North America. Formed in Toronto, Canada in early 2014, the quintet proposes a faithful reproduction of the Steve Perry era of the San Francisco act, enriched with audience interactivity, projections, backdrops and true-to-the-original costume changes. AJT doesn’t aim to be a plain carbon copy of the real thing: every effort on stage, from singing and playing to the moves, is so natural and heartfelt that it captivates even the most skeptical critic. Seeing is believing. More info at greg frewintheatre.com/absolute-journey-tribute.html


CLASSIC ALBUMS LIVE: JIMI HENDRIX - ARE YOU EXPERIENCED APRIL 18 | FIRSTONTARIO PERFORMING ARTS CENTRE

BERG, MURPHY, NORTHEY, PAGE APRIL 19 | FIRSTONTARIO PERFORMING ARTS CENTRE Songs, stories and instrument swapping with the Trans Canada Highwaymen supergroup featuring Moe Berg (Pursuit of Happiness), Chris Murphy (Sloan), Craig Northey (Odds) and Steven Page (BNL).

NIAGARA FOOD AND WINE EXPO APRIL 21 - 23 The Niagara Food & Wine Expo is a premier international tasting event at the Scotiabank Convention Centre featuring wines, beers and spirits from around the globe and regional wines direct from neighbouring vineyards. Local chefs will showcase their talents and prepares star-studded line up of guest chefs will take the stage. An excellent opportunity to sample a diverse array of wines and taste some of the best cuisine available in the city for a discounted price. Must be 19 years of age or older. No children or infants permitted. Celebrity Guest: John Catucci from Food Network’s “You Gotta Eat Here”.

Editorial credit: P.S.Art-Design-Studio / Shutterstock.com

Experience Hendrix’s legendary 1967 debut album masterfully performed live on stage, note for note. Cut for cut.

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FRIDAY - 2PM-10PM SATURDAY - 12PM-10PM SUNDAY - 12PM-6PM Tickets: $15 at the door, $12 online For details & tickets : niagarafoodandwineexpo.ca

ART & BLOOMS AT RIVERBRINK ART MUSEUM APRIL 21 | 1PM - 4:30PM RiverBrink Art & Blooms Thé à la française Fundraiser. Enjoy French tea, savories, and sweets at this afternoon ticketed fundraising event with special guest Lynn Ogryzlo. Floral artists from the Garden Club of Niagara have interpreted works of art from the Weir Collection and these designs will be on display in the main-floor galleries. Timed admission 1 to 2:30 or 3 to 4:30 p.m. More info at niagaraonthelake.com or (905) 262-4510

DEAD LETTER OFFICE: TRIBUTE TO R.E.M APRIL 22 | SENECA QUEEN THEATRE | 8PM - 11PM Formed in 2014, Dead Letter Office impressively recreates the sounds and spectacle of an R.E.M concert. Unlike other R.E.M tribute bands, Dead Letter Office has five members, allowing them to tackle R.E.M’s complete repertoire so fans can hear all of their favourite hits. Price: $22.25 + HST + Processing Fee. More info at senecaqueen.ca

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IMMORTAL CHI APRIL 25 | FIRSTONTARIO PERFORMING ARTS CENTRE A thrilling Chinese spectacle for all ages that fuses adrenaline-packed martial arts, ancient weaponry, acrobatics and percussion. More info at firstontariopac.ca

SIP & SIZZLE WEEKENDS IN MAY | 11AM - 5PM VARIOUS WINERIES | NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE Over 20 wineries in Niagara-on-the-Lake participate in offering unique grilled food and VQA wine pairing. A relaxing fun way to discover the Wines of Niagara-on-the-Lake. *Please note Sip & Sizzle has now replaced the wine & herb touring event.

CELEBRATE BEER. CELEBRATE BUFFALO.

More info at wineriesofniagaraonthelake.com/event/sip-sizzle/ >>

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IN THE SOIL ARTS FESTIVAL In the Soil Arts Festival is an explosion of creativity in downtown St. Catharines each spring.  A free, licensed outdoor hub on James Street in downtown St. Catharines that will feature an exciting weekend of free interactive activities, artisan markets, local brew, wine and eats and over 150 acts and installations in theatre, music, dance, media, streetscape and interactive art that take over the expected and unexpected spaces of St. Catharines downtown core. Visit inthesoil.on.ca for updates and a full listing.

photo: inthesoil.on.ca

APRIL 28 - 30 | DOWNTOWN ST. CATHARINES

Pictured: Just one of the many talented acts to appear at In The Soil, international touring 14-piece brasshop band MY SON THE HURRICANE will perform on the Festival Hub Stage on Saturday @9pm.

TANYA TAGAQ MAY 4 | FIRSTONTARIO PERFORMING ARTS CENTRE The Polaris Prize winner has reclaimed the controversial 1922 silent film Nanook of the North with a live concert featuring electronic music and throat singing unlike you’ve ever experienced before.

A CULINARY TOUR OF EMILIA ROMAGNA MAY 12 | THE RAINBOW ROOM BY MASSIMO CAPRA Showcasing the very best wine and cuisine from one of Italy’s most prominent gastronomical regions – Italy’s Emilia Romagna – Chef Massimo Capra and Executive Chef John Casciato will be taking guests on a culinary tour with featured beloved Italian dishes and ingredients like tortellini, prosciutto di Parma, lasagne, pancetta, balsamic vinegar, and Parmesan cheese, as well as red Lambrusco and the famous white Albana di Romagna wines. Your night includes… One night’s accommodation in a Fallsview Room Mix and mingle with Chefs Massimo Capra & John Casciato Standing Cocktail Reception with Canapes and pairing 5 Course Dinner and Wine Pairings For more information visit fallsavenueresort.com/culinary/event/ culinary-tour-emilia-romagna/

NIAGARA FALLS ELVIS FESTIVAL MAY 19 - 21 | GREG FREWIN THEATRE Canada is the only country outside of the US where Elvis performed on stage. To celebrate Elvis and his connection to Canada, the Niagara Falls Elvis Festival is a three-day festival of Graceland style entertainment and competition. If you have a burning love for Elvis Presley, then you’re about to be all shook up. Imagine three full days of nonstop Graceland style Elvis celebration held at a premiere

Las Vegas style venue including: Must-See Elvis Gala Shows 2 Day Elvis Competition; Grand Champion to be crowned on Sunday Delicious food Fun times & cool surprises For the first time in history, Niagara Falls will host an official Elvis event sanctioned by Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. |Graceland. If you love the King of Rock & Roll, then you’ll want to be a part of this ultimate inaugural Elvis tribute experience. More info at niagarafallselvisfestival.com/ index.html

LADIES OF R&B JULLY BLACK AND DIVINE BROWN MAY 20 | SCOTIABANK CONVENTION CENTRE Jully Black is a true Canadian Icon. Named as one of ‘The 25 Greatest Canadian Singers Ever’, (CBC Music) she has been dubbed ‘Canada’s Queen of R&B Soul’ by her fans and peers. As a platinum selling recording artist, her music career has yielded multiple singles reaching the Top 10 pop, R&B and dance music charts. She has taken home multiple Juno Awards, earned many industry accolades and was hand selected to sing for the Queen of England. A rare gift to have, Divine Brown’s five octave vocal range makes everybody stand up and pay attention. Her versatility as a performer both musically and vocally has found her manifesting success in the musical theatre world, as well as Top 40 radio. Divine has starred in several musical plays such as Rent, Ain’t Miss Behavin’, Life, Death and the Blues, and the Obeah Opera. Placing three top 10 singles on CHR, AC and Hot AC radio in Canada (with her hit single “Sunglasses” reaching Top 15 on the U.S. Billboard Dance Chart in 2010) Divine also captured the heart of

the public and her music garnered her a Certified Gold Album for her debut self-titled project (2005 - Universal Music), a Juno Award for R&B Album of the Year (The Love Chronicles) as well as a SOCAN #1 Award. For details, please call the SCCN Box Office at: 905-3577008. Text courtesy of: divinebrown.com

NIAGARA FALLS COMIC CON JUNE 2 - 4 | SCOTIABANK CONVENTION CENTRE The event takes place just steps away from the majestic Falls  and will feature more than 150,000 square feet of exhibitors, comic books, movie cars, cosplay contests, celebrity autographs and photo-ops, a video gaming arena, Falls Horror Fest and more. Friday 3pm to 8pm, Saturday 10am to 6pm, Sunday 10am to 4pm. Some guests include: Barbara Eden, Sting, Caleb McLaughlin, Jason Mewes, Brian O’Halloran and Jeremy London. More info at niagarafallscomiccon.com

SHAW GUILD GARDEN TOUR, NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE JUNE 10 | 10AM - 4PM This year’s garden tour has been expanded to include beautiful gardens in the nearby village of Queenston in addition to stunning gardens in Old Town NOTL, all being shown for the first time. Ponds and waterfalls, views of the Niagara River, hundreds of varieties of perennials, magnificent specimens of trees and shrubs will all delight our visitors. As an added bonus, several of the gardens surround beautiful historic homes. Marvel at the dry stone wall built by one of the owners.  Tickets remain a bargain at $25.00 and include some discount coupons at local businesses. Purchase tickets at shawfest.com/gardentour or by calling 1-800-511-7429.


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365 Vine St. Unit 2 • St. Catharines 289-362-4222 • dhniagara.com

Dental cleanings are a necessity to our health and should not be a luxury Complete dental cleanings Laser Whitening with take home kit for $299

THE TOUGHEST, EASIEST TO CLEAN CARPET

ON THE

PLANET™ 6 CLARK STREET, WELLAND 905.735.3223 | 1.800.827.4230 a1flooringwelland.ca

The Canadian Equity GIC is not a conventional fixed income investment. The Canadian equity GIC is not suitable for all types of investors. An investment in the Canadian Equity GIC is subject to a number of risk factors. Potential purchasers should consult the Information Statement before investing. The Bank has issued previous series which may have different terms and conditions. Please refer to our website for the list of terms and conditions, compared to the previous series. CIBC Wood Gundy is a division of CIBC World Markets Inc., a subsidiary of CIBC and a Member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund and Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada.


TODAY’S PEOPLE SHARING THE LAUGHS, CELEBRATIONS & NEW BEGINNINGS

Veronica Tennant, CC, Céline Peterson, Rosemarie Umetsu, Kelly Peterson

Jim Welter (Yamaha Canada), Kelly Peterson, Alexis Spieldenner, Robi Botos, Dave Young, Chris Mori, and Céline Peterson

WINTER WINE FEST

OSCAR EVENT PARTY

JANUARY 13 -15, JORDAN VILLAGE – Winter WineFest brings together Niagara’s top winemakers, chefs and premium VQA wines offering great food, premium wines, sparkling and Icewine served outdoors on the streets of pretty little Jordan Village.

JANUARY 27, SHAW FESTIVAL –Bravo Niagara Presents An Intimate Look at ‘Oscar, With Love’ featuring Robi Botos and Dave Young hosted by Kelly and Céline Peterson.

– photo @Alex Heidbuechel

Barbara Devine and Mary Margaret Murphy

Freida Polihronis and Holly Erin

Frank Riddle, Alex Pedersen and Niels Pedersen

Have an event or charity you want to showcase? Contact us and you could be part of our next Today’s People.

TODAYSPEOPLE@TODAY-MAGAZINE.COM 905.356.7283

BUSINESS AFTER 5 FEBRUARY 7, ST. CATHARINES CLUB – Alex Pedersen (Public Relations Coordinator at CAA Niagara) who pledged 100 volunteer hours at the GNCC 2016 PRICELESS Art Auction, earned her artwork Rainbow by local artist Avneet Kaur Nagpal. Freida Polihronis, owner and operator of Zoē Anti-Aging Skin Spa accepting a plaque commemorating 20 years in business. Next BA5 is March 7 at A1 Flooring Canada.

Janice Arnoldi and Paul Price


BREATHTAKING VIEWS OF THE FALLS DAY AND NIGHT

Soar 175 feet above the Falls in climatecontrolled comfort for the most spectacular view imaginable.

SAVE $30

> Catch all the fun and enjoy 6 attractions for 1 low price with the Clifton Hill Fun Pass!

905.358.3676 • cliftonhill.com


Profile for TodayMagazine

Today Magazine March/April 2017  

Today Magazine March/April 2017