Spring 2013 | Vol. 07 | No. 01 | TopChoiceMagazine.com | $4.99 CAN
MINDING EVERYONE’S BUSINESS™
Photo: Discovery Communications
Canada’s Top Choice Humantarian of the Year
A look at Oprah Winfrey’s inspiring life and her uncompromising love for helping others.
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Oprah Canada's Top Choice Humanitarian
FACE THE FEAR OF CHANGING YOUR CAREER PATH
THE GIFT OF PAIN-FREE LIVING
SIGNATURE TANNING HITS YORKVILLE
HUNGRY LIKE A WOLF: IL LUPO RISTORANTE
ELEVATED EDUCATION AT YIP'S CANADA
WINDOWS OF OPPORTUNITY A FAMILY'S SUCCESS
page 44 6
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Top Choice Magazine SUCCESS 12 What Your Car Says About You 16 Winnipeg's Most Trusted Rental Company 18 Facing the Fear of Changing Your Career Path 20 Career Climbing – Succeed in the Workplace HEALTH & BEAUTY 22 The Gift of Pain-Free Living 26 Signature Tanning Hits Yorkville 28 Can We Live to be 120? 30 Rumor Has It FOOD & DRINK 32 Hungry Like a Wolf: Il Lupo Ristorante 34 Eat Right INSPIRATION 36 Oprah: Canada's Top Choice Humanitarian EVENT 40 Top Choice Awards 2012 FAMILY & COMMUNITY 44 Elevated Education at YIP's Canada 48 KICKS Dance Studio HOME 50 Windows of Opportunity: A Family`s Success 52 Improve Your House Exterior SERVICES 54 ExpoSystems – Banner & Display Services 56 The Painters Group – Painting Services REVIEWS 61 Business Reviews Guide 62 Pure Spirits Oyster House & Grill 63 Wendy's Flatbread Grilled Chicken 64 Turf Lounge 65 Intensive Age Refining Treatment 66 Chemical Peel Facial 67 Styles of Creation PROFILES 70 Maggie Nowakowski, Photographer & Digital Artist 72 Hector Hernandez, Singer 8
Top Choice Magazine is dedicated to showcasing excellence. It features businesses, business professionals, entertainers, and media that are recognized with awards. Top Choice Magazine is produced by Top Choice Media Group Inc. The magazine is published 4 times a year and is a reliable guide to the top products and services in your community! More than 50,000 copies are distributed throughout Top businesses and professionals in Canada, the magazine works like a promotional tool to the participants. Readership is estimated at more than 300,000 per issue.
Advertising Inquirers Only award-winning, reputable or recognized businesses, entertainers, media providers, and business professionals are promoted in Top Choice Magazine. If you would like to advertise, call us at (416) 662-2123 or send an email to info@TopChoiceMagazine.com. Media kits are available in print and digital format.
Copyright notice The content and photographs in this magazine are protected by copyright. Reproduction in any form, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of the publisher.
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MESSAGE FROM THE PUBLISHER
David Silvestre Publisher
Hello everyone, Managing Editor Monica Couto Art Director Michael Fillier Accountant Executive ITA Accounting Editor Marco Luccisano Sabrina Cugliari Sales Manager Fay Xuan Graphic Designers Michael Fillier Photographers Sam Santos George Pimentel Maggie Habieda Writers Francesca Filippelli Sabrina Cugliari Monica Couto David Silvestre Marco Luccisano Dyvine Silvestre Business Review Specialists Sandy Caetano Francesca Filippelli
Top Choice Magazine holds the power to share and express real life success stories. IN THIS MAGAZINE ISSUE, you will find inspi-
rational stories from individuals that learned how to smile through trouble and adapt to new situations thereby becoming business models to follow in their working industry. Their passion is contagious and we at Top Choice Media Group seem to have caught the passion “bug” allowing us to continue striving to remain on top and inspire our competition by helping our clients. Allow me to explain, in brief words, the major changes in our operations and how we keep improving: A s y o u k n o w, To p Choice Media Group is a group of companies and two of them are sisters, Top Choice Magazine and Top Choice Awards. All year round they work together to bring out the best of what each city has to offer. T.C. Awards surveys the public and determines the people’s choice while T.C. Magazine promotes the nominees and winners. But what most people don’t know is that T.C. Media works very closely with every award nominee and award winner to improve their social media and web perception by
building and promoting top notch websites and videos that keeps their image up to date and part of these fast paced lifestyle that we are all living! So, recently the passion bug kicked in once again and told us that we’d better improve T.C. Awards, because public demands have changed and we must keep it simple and straight to the point in order to deliver a message. A new motto arises: Fuelled by the success of others and driven by the people’s voice™ Take a look at the new and improved web app TopChoiceAwards.com and see for yourself. The new web app was created to be mobile friendly and flexible to adapt to your needs when on the run and looking for a trusted service or product in your city, so enjoy it! We hope our passion reaches you and that our example of investment in
ourselves with a new and improved image inspires you to do the same. If I could leave you with a simple message would be: Focus on what you want and it will lead you exactly to that! PS: Don't forget to try topchoiceawards.com on your smartphone! When you are looking for a certain product or service in your city and you don’t have the time to ask around to determine who you can trust, the mobile-friendly website it will give you the single, best option for what you need. You won’t get multiple choices, only one choice per category – the people’s Top Choice! Top Regards,
David Silvestre, Publisher
Social • Corporate • Cultural
Atlantis is honoured to have won this year’s Top Choice Award for Toronto’s Best Event Facility
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What Your Car Says About You: What You Really “Auto” Know! Just like the job you do, the clothes you wear and the places you travel, your vehicle is an extension of your image. What is your vehicle saying about you? CLOSE YOUR EYES. IMAGINE your dream car. What color is it? Is it a sleek sports car? Is it a heavy duty pickup truck? What about the interior? Leather seats, perhaps? Fully loaded? The possibilities are endless. It is, after all, your dream car. A car purchase is a huge investment. Some people spend the majority of their day driving. Many of us eagerly anticipate turning “sweet’ sixteen and getting a G1 permit, working part-time to save up money for that first car. A car gets us to work, gets us home – gets us to where we need to be, and for this reason, a car is immeasurably valuable! When it comes to material possessions, we often choose those items that we believe reflect our personalities best. Through clothing, technology, homes and cars, we show the world who we are. At first thought, many may feel that the vehicle they own is purely practical. It gets
"People make assumptions about other individuals based on what they see, not what they know." them from point A to point B conveniently and that is what makes the vehicle valuable. However, the automotive industry provides us with a plethora of options that can be tailored to suit individual needs. Our vehicles say more about our personalities than we think and we take this into consideration when choosing one, whether it is consciously or subconsciously. Judgment appears to be an integral and unavoidable part of society. People make assumptions about other individuals based
on what they see, not what they know. The cars we drive are no exception. Imagine sitting at a traffic light when a fire engine red sports car pulls up to your right. You may assume this person is wealthy and takes pride in their material possessions. To your left you see a champagne colored minivan. Your first assumption may be that this person likely has a family, requiring a more spacious vehicle. The term “soccer mom” or “soccer dad” may come to mind. These stereotypes, though not always correct, are for the most part harmless and certainly not unfounded. We tend to give cars a personality of their own. Describing them as feminine or masculine, aggressive or cute. Some cars appear aggressive and macho, like a Hummer H1 truck. Others appear “cute”; think of a Volkswagen Beetle. And in the same sense we create personalities for these vehicles, we also create them for
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their owners. You would be hard pressed to find someone who would assume that the driver of the huge Hummer H1 truck in a parking lot is a petite, blonde teenage girl. The same way you would be hard pressed to find someone who assumes the driver of the Beetle was a middle aged, former bodybuilder turned businessman. Part of the reason for these assumptions are due largely in fact to how the automotive industry markets their products. Sports cars are often marketed as luxury cars – fast and pricey. So we assume that the buyers live a similar lifestyle. Compact cars are often depicted as environmentally friendly and affordable, allowing many to assume that the buyers may be economically conscious city dwellers. Aside from judging others based on their preferred method of transportation, whether we realize it or not, the cars we purchase are making definite statements
about our own traits and characteristics. Do you fall into the category with the owner of the fire engine red sports car we mentioned? It wouldn’t be a wild guess to assume that you’re confident and proud of whom you are. Or perhaps you fall into the category of mini-van owners or SUVs… majority statistics show that you may be a suburbanite, likely having one or more children. These assumptions even extend to color with red colored cars, full of energy and aggressiveness, being one of the most expensive to insure, while silver and white
"People make assumptions about other individuals based on what they see, not what they know."
cars are generally seen as “calmer” and “cooler”. Vehicles truly say a lot about their owners. So before buying one, aside from all other factors considered including cost and visual appeal, what you really need to ask yourself is what is my car saying about me? Numerous polls have been taken and various statistics have been gathered to try and determine the correlation between the car and the assumptions that go along with it. There have even been studies in regards to which vehicle is most appealing to the opposite sex – unfortunately, the beloved mini-vans weren’t ranked highly on that list. Ultimately, the only person who has a final say in vehicle choice is yourself – but remember, your car is not only a mode of transportation; it’s a statement. Whether you’re in the market for a new vehicle or happy with your current choice, it definitely doesn’t think to hurt about what you’re representing through your ride.
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Manitoba and a brand new location opening in the fall of 2013, Winnipeg U-Drive has continued to grow since it first was established in 1999. They recently combined with Payless Car Rental, expanding their customer base and allowing them to offer easier ways to make a reservation through websites such as www.travelocity.ca, www.expedia.ca and www.orbitz. com, to name a few. Winnipeg U-Drive is proud to be the only car rental company in Manitoba that is open seven days a week for customer convenience. They pride themselves on having a positive business relationship with local vehicle repair centers and dealerships by offering their customers new and affordable rental car’s while theirs is out of commission. Winnipeg U-Drive is a multi awardwinning company, winning the Top Choice Award three times and the Consumer Choice Award for six consecutive years. We are extremely proud of the hard work our staff has put in over the years, allowing all the recognition to take place. Paul Donvito, President of Winnipeg U-Drive, credits the success of his company to “ensuring customer contentment by providing proficiently serviced and maintained vehicles at the lowest price everyday” he concludes. Winnipeg U-Drive offers a variety of new vehicles equipped to fulfil any-one's needs, from cars to trucks, vans to SUVs; Winnipeg U-Drive has what you need. They also provide a large selection of models from Nissan, Kia, Toyota, Honda, Ford,
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Fadi Minawi Lead US Immigration Attorney Shabnam Akrami Firm System Director Michael Niren Managing Partner
Challenging Change: Facing the Fear of Changing Your Career Path The award-winning Niren & Associates, Immigration Lawyers, would have never existed if not for the dramatic career change its founder made. Michael Niren shares the story of his gutsy move from philosophy to law. e Francesca Filippelli AH, THE BEAUTY OF education; an instrument used to develop the personality of an individual and in turn, the significant results he or she will bring to themselves and to others. How true can that statement really be?
Your career will ultimately be the essence of your “self ” and how others see you, but does your primary choice of education always match, or better yet “develop” the true colors of your personality? It is not an easy question.
You can spend years heading in one direction, towards one goal, with one style of education. Then one morning, you may wake up and decide you don’t want to head in that direction anymore, towards that same goal. You suddenly
experience a 180° shift in perspective that permanently changes the way you see life. Isn’t it amazing how we have the opportunities to change from A to B with little sacrifice? Just have confidence; change is good, and a successful change is even better. I mean, just ask Michael Niren he did it, and he did it WELL! Meet Michael Niren, a successful Immigration Lawyer owning his own law firm located and currently serving the amazing city of Toronto. Like many others, Michael never intended to go into immigration law. “I was a philosophy major and considered getting a PhD and becoming a professor”, he explains. Now, it’s one thing to practice law, but it’s a completely different experience owning your own business. “I didn’t have any business background and I was well aware of the high failure rate of start up businesses.” Michael notes; and with an education that didn’t cover much of how to run your own business, Michael was left taking a huge risk hoping for an even bigger result. If you experience a career change and you are currently striving to start your own business or better yet “call your own shots”, it is important to realize that “easy” and “simple” are not words you will often use or hear. We all go through struggles while chasing our dreams. A few bumps in the road are always welcomed... well maybe not welcomed, but definitely present! “The biggest challenge for me,” Michael states, “Was one I would imagine all small business owners experience; trying to get clients, paying your expenses and worrying endlessly about whether you will make it. Sometimes the temptation to give up was overwhelming. I am happy I didn’t succumb.” For all those reading this article, try to do the same. Don’t succumb to temptations of quitting, instead, approach them in a new light – a positive
Niren's change has been a great success. His Immigration Law Firm has received numerous Top Choice Awards, amongst other accolades.
"Perhaps what I would do differently would be to be even more aggressive with some of my initiatives, but that takes confidence and at the time I was just building mine." light. “Do your homework, mitigate by research beforehand and always follow your gut. I am a strong believer of what we refer to as emotional intelligence trust yourself and jump in” Michael states. The rest will follow. Niren and Associates is currently one of the most successful Immigration law firms in the city of Toronto. As a winner of the Top Choice Award for 4 years in a row, it’s evident this success has been recognized. “For me, the sky's the limit. I have learned to adapt to the changes of the world and my business has expanded a great deal as a result.” Michael states, shares one of his secrets to our readers. Keep in mind one person cannot be the whole body of
the business and placing your trust in others will come a long way. Michael agrees and shares, “I am grateful to my clients and staff for trusting me and for giving me the opportunity to have trust in them. I could not have built what I did without them. For the most part, my wife has believed in me from the start even when I didn’t believe in myself – for that I am also grateful.” Be a people person, be loved and love in return. Be trusted and trust in return. Learn to work as a team and become one with those by your side. Success will follow. Although a time machine would be a welcome miracle for many to say the least, Michael Niren probably wouldn’t make much use of it. “I wouldn’t change much to be honest.” he
stated calmly. “I think one of my strengths has been to spot trends before they hit mainstream and set things up to prepare.” Nevertheless, there is always room for improvement. Always believe things can and should be done better, do not settle for good enough. As an afterthought, Michael adds, “Perhaps what I would do differently would be to be even more aggressive with some of my initiatives, but that takes confidence and at the time I was just building mine.” Focus on the goal and achieve it. Build your confidence and believe you can be successful. Find ways that showcase the positive benefits you can bring to the table. We asked Michael what motivates him to continue to strive for success. “It's in my DNA. I get up each morning thinking about the law practice, how to grow it, how to change it, where I can take it. It's just fun for me. It's all about having fun. And fun is being creative and seeing your visions come to life.” Michael smiles. That’s seems like a good way to look at it, what do you think? In addition, have a large impact on the people you serve. Be the difference they could not find in the others competing with you. Michael acknowledges the effect that customer impact can have, explaining, “I believe I have changed people’s lives for the better. My firm has been responsible for bringing families together, keeping them together and growing businesses.” What more could you ask for? Provide your clients with the opportunity to say “thank you” and mean it! Now that’s a career you will love and be proud to be a part of, no matter what field you are in!
NIREN & ASSOCIATES
20 Eglinton Avenue W Suite 2202 in Toronto
Career Climbing How Young Adults Can Find Success in the Workforce…and How Stable Employees Can Keep It! e Sabrina Cugliari
LET’S FACE IT. TIMES have changed. CDs are old and cassettes are ancient. It seems almost pre-historic to mention eight-tracks. A new generation has grown up and with them they bring the Smartphone, a slew of social media applications, and a hunger for employment. The swarm of twenty-somethings graduating from university and vying for job opportunities seem to have a, shall we say, unpleasant time in their vocational fields. Lovingly nicknamed Generation Y by our predecessors – probably due in part to “why?” being our favorite question – those of us born in the 1980s and 1990s appear ready to begin our lives, but are struggling in the process. Today, twenty-somethings are having a harder time finding jobs and this isn’t just attributed to the competition, which, to be fair, is often stiff and vast. Being a young adult in 2013 is drastically different than being an adult 20 years ago. A study in the Globe and Mail found that “people aged 20 to 24 years are 41-per-cent worse off financially than their counterparts were in 1976.” When most Baby Boomers and Generation Xers were in their twenties, they were likely to be working full-time and either married or with a partner. This isn’t to say that everyone follows this pattern. There may be many people under the Generation Y umbrella who have established themselves and are stable in their careers already. However, based on statistics and surroundings, we can safely say this is the exception, not the rule. So, this begs the question, why? Why is this generation having a tougher go at it than their elders when they’re even more likely to have post-secondary education? To put it simply, there is no finite answer. There’s a variety of reasons. One of them seems to be the expectations of prior generations. Time for an anecdote to give our readers an idea of what we mean. While talking with a skilled expert tasked with
"Why is this generation having a tougher go at it than their elders? recruiting employees for her company, we reached the topic of the interviewing process and potential “make or break” factors. She recalled an interview in which the candidate had exceptional skill and credentials, but ultimately did not make the cut. In possession of an MBA and an impressive amount of experience, the candidate made it through initial recruitment and a phone interview. However, they didn’t get the job. Why? Because they showed up to the inperson interview wearing black jeans, a striped dress shirt and a leather jacket. On paper, this candidate was the perfect fit for the position. Though our culture, and especially our city, promote self-expression, there are certain exceptions. “It’s unprofessional,” she explains. So is professionalism the problem? Perhaps in some isolated cases, however, for the most part the idea of “being professional” is one of the first lessons taught to hopefuls entering the job market. Ingrained in our brains from a young age, we have learned when and where professionalism is necessary and how to behave in such a way. In these few cases, unfortunately, lack of professionalism is the problem. These potential employees may have the skill and they may have the credentials, but if the required level of professionalism isn’t met, a job offer may not appear. The solution seems to be “knowing your audience”. Whether you’re preparing for an interview or meeting with potential clients, the appearance and manner you present will provide the first, and most important, impression. Performance and skill are only noticed once your foot is in the door – and the first you need to get that door open. Aside from always striving to maintain an air of professionalism, networking
is another key starting point for both Gen Ys and those already in the workforce. Whether you are just starting your own business, are a successful entrepreneur or you’re a consumer, sometimes who you know goes along way. For Gen Ys, volunteering or interning at specific career related places of business are an excellent way to improve on already existing skills. Experience is always an asset in addition to scholarly credentials. For those who find themselves already in the workforce, knowing your competitors and the markets around you often proves to be an important ingredient in the recipe for success. Professionalism. Networking. So far, so good. What other advice can we offer to both those who are eager to enter the workforce and those already thriving in it? We’ll call this last (but not least) bit of knowledge “trendiness”. I’m not talking about fashion sense, although a basic knowledge in what’s “hot” on the runway may be an advantage for some. In this case, being trendy is a term that would be used to describe those who are knowledgeable about employment trends and their specific market. This is especially important to those aiming for post-secondary degrees and those who are in the workforce, entrepreneurial or otherwise. If there is no demand, there’s no need for supply. The work force is competitive, tuition fees are higher and debt (student and otherwise) seems to be mounting, however, the sky is still the limit for Generation Y professionals. Technologically savvy and often thoroughly educated, the young adults who are products of the 1980s and onwards have much to offer employers in any field. The same tips that are of valuable use to these employment hopefuls can be just as valuable to those who are stable in their career of choice if they chose to follow them. The bottom line is that when it comes to any sort of decision regarding careers, there is always a gamble. With determination, passion and a true love for the field that one is in, anything can be achieved.
HEALTH & BEAUTY
The Gift of Pain-Free Living Darko Vukelic, Owner of TAC Physiotherapy TAC PHYSIOTHERAPY
4141 Dixie Road, Unit 26 (Rockwood Mall) 905-272-8372 tacphysio.ca
Relieved patients share their experience at TAC Physiotherapy and the freedoms of living without pain. IT HAS BEEN MANY years since TAC Physiotherapy Inc. opened its doors to serve patience in the Mississauga area. In fact, this year TAC Physiotherapy marks 20 years of its existence. From its humble beginning, the clinic grew as the patient demand and their numbers increased. Today, TAC Physiotherapy offers physiotherapy services, massage therapy, acupuncture and custom-made orthotics. Our goal is to improve our patients’ quality of life, which we achieve in multiple ways according to the patients’ needs, goals and demands. For some patients that may mean achieving previous levels of health and mobility while other patients may require intervention in order to slow down the progression of the disease. Furthermore, some patients require conditioning to improve balance, coordination, endurance and strength. Finally, we also work with patients to improve their quality of life by educating and implementing safety measures to prevent injuries from happening. “Our patients are our best ambassadors for our level of care”, shares Darko Vukelic with Top Choice. TAC receives no shortage of praise for the services they offer. Below are a list of testimonials written by some of TAC’s patients who volunteered to share their life changing experience with TAC Physiotherapy.
“In seconds my life changed” In February of 2005, I was involved in a serious motor vehicle accident that left me with numerous broken bones. My body was in so much pain; I was scared of what I might be facing in the future. Every step, every movement, was painful and took a lot of energy out of me. As I looked for a suitable place, I was surprised of what was out there. There were some scary places. Finally, I found TAC Physiotherapy. It was close to home and it ticked all the boxes on my list. I had little hope and energy at that point. I was managing my pain with Tylenol 3s and coping one hour at a time. My treatments at TAC Physiotherapy were frequent and involved a lot of work and pain that some days drained all of my energy. The physiotherapist and the staff spend numerous hours on a variety of treatments for the many injured areas of my body. The months of hard work were starting to pay off, as I was able to decrease the amount of painkillers and return to certain activities. A number of caring people helped me survive and improve after the accident and I am proud to say that the TAC Physiotherapy staff is among them. I still go in for treatments when my chronic pain is hard to manage. They try different treatment that helps ease the pain. What an amazing, professional and experienced group of people.
I have been a patient for over 6 years exclusively at TAC physiotherapy clinic in Mississauga. It is truly a wonderful clinic. From the moment you walk in, one is greeted warmly. The waiting room feels like a warm European spa...lovely paintings, elegant mirrors, soft music and of course comfortable chairs with backrests. The true professionals that work there, Vesna, Darko, Biliana and Victoria are very customer focused, One is greeted with a friendly smile, and one never waits too long to go in and receive treatment. The clinic is extremely clean and organized. There is a delightful exercise area in the back of the clinic so that patients can do the prescribed exercises. Staff are always there to assist the patients to ensure that they are comfortable and safe while doing the exercises. Their RMT professionals, Yan and Viorel, are true experts who make every effort to make their patients feel wonderful. Their expert, caring massages are very therapeutic and very relaxing. One can even request a hot stone massage. The massage room is also warmly furnished, with adequate benches for clothing and resting. I will continue to attend TAC, and I am very thankful for all their expertise and care…because they truly care about people and how they feel. I feel better, mentally and physically because of them. Many thanks to everyone at TAC! A job well done! A special thank you to Vesna Vukelic, she is the owner of this awesome facility.
Ingrid Turner RN
I first visited TAC Physiotherapy back in 1996 at its original location on South Creek Road based on the recommendation of a friend. The reason for my first visit was to receive therapy on my arm after I had come back from breast cancer surgery. Through the various activities done while in therapy as well as going through the suggested home activities, the recovery of my arm went really well. The discomfort and limited mobility I had faced prior to my first visit to TAC had been resolved to the point where my arm felt as good as it had prior to my surgery. At that time, the operation at TAC was very small, but the service was anything but small. I received the utmost attention and was able to get all of my questions and concerns resolved. The staff was very knowledgeable of the most current practices and made sure to spend as much time as necessary to improve my understanding of the therapies provided. That personal attention really gave me a strong comfort level and helped me to keep my recovery rate going as strong as possible. I have visited TAC for other reasons as well, including for lower back pain caused by osteoarthritis as well as for massaging of my lymph nodes after corresponding lymph surgery. In all cases, I have found the service provided to be very professional with a level of warmth that I feel has created a strong bond between the physiotherapists and I. Regardless of the situation, I have treated and will continue to treat TAC as my goto location to receive all my massage and physiotherapy needs.
HIGH PERFORMANCE VISION™ The Bochner Eye Institute is internationally-recognized as the experts in Laser Eye Surgery. Celebrating its 80th anniversary, Bochner is the longest established laser eye treatment center in North America. “We have thousands of satisfied patients from all over the world— 40 countries and counting — to have laser eye surgery,” says Dr. Raymond Stein. “However, the most significant acknowledgement of our expertise comes from the fact that well over 300 eye doctors have chosen our Institute to have their eyes treated.” The father and son teams of Harold and Raymond Stein, and Albert and Jordan Cheskes trained at the world renowned Mayo Clinic. They also hold professorships at the University of Toronto and have collaborated on an impressive 35 texts — the most academic books attributed to a private institution in North America. “Our reputation as a center of excellence is attributable to the quality of our surgeons,” notes Dr. Harold Stein. “Patients considering a laser procedure can be rest assured that our surgeons are amongst the most skilled and experienced in the world,” explains Dr. Stein, “what really sets us apart is our expertise partnered with the most advanced laser technology available.” Technologies like the new Intralase® equipment. The Intralase® laser is the safest, most effective all laser LASIK technique. This technology provides improved safety, better vision, higher degrees of predictability and precision. Now with, new diagnostic equipment, the Bochner Eye Institute is now better able to detect and correct diseases and disorders of the eye at the earliest stages. “Innovation, safety, experience, dependability, and the longevity that comes with years of experience and thousands of happy patients are what keep the Bochner Eye Institute at the forefront of laser technology in Canada,” concludes Dr. Albert Cheskes.
Official Laser and Eye Centre for the Toronto Blue Jays
416.960.2020 • 1.800.665.1987
A testament to its innovative approach and legacy of success, The Bochner Eye Institute is proud to be chosen as the official laser and eye centre for the Toronto Blue Jays.
SERVICES KERATOCONUS Keratoconus is a corneal disease that occurs when the normally round dome-shaped cornea (the clear outer area of the eye) progressively thins causing a conelike bulge to develop. New treatment modalities are offerred including corneal collagen crosslinking with Riboflavin and intracorneal rings.
INTRAOCULAR TECHNIQUES Intraocular techniques, as the name implies, are done within the eye. Three intraocular techniques are available at the Bochner Eye Institute: Phakic Intraocular Lenses - often referred to as an Implantable Contact Lens (ICL), Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) and Cataract Surgery
LASIK LASIK, or Laser-Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis, is a type of laser eye surgery for correcting myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. In order for light to focus more clearly on the retina, the outer window of the eye and the cornea must be of the proper curvature.
PRK During photorefractive keratectomy (PRK), the surface cells of the cornea, called the corneal epithelium, are removed instead of creating a LASIK flap. The excimer laser is applied to reshape the cornea and correct vision. Visual outcomes are equally as impressive as with LASIK, however, the healing time tends to be longer.
Official Sponsor of the Toronto Maple Leafs & Toronto Raptors
LEFT TO RIGHT:
DR. HAROLD A. STEIN
MD, FRCSC, DABO, MEDICAL DIRECTOR
DR. ALBERT CHESKES
MD, FRCSC, DABO, MEDICAL DIRECTOR
DR. RAYMOND M. STEIN
MD, FRCSC, DABO, MEDICAL DIRECTOR
4-time recipient Top Laser Vision Correction in the GTA
HEALTH & BEAUTY
Ana Roman, Owner of Signature Tanning in Yorkville
Putting Her Name on the Line Ana Roman has turned years of experience in the tanning industry into Signature Tanning, a luxurious studio in the heart of Yorkville. e Francesca Filippelli WE UTILISE HOPE AS a tool in our lives to help us control our fears and our doubts. We face our day-to-day encounters and confrontations hoping everything will fall according to plan. Being born into a country where general necessities are a blessing and uncommon to say the least, a struggling individual is left with no choice but to leave her homeland, pull up her roots from under her and look for a fresh start. Canada, a nation built on immigration, is one to create hope into people’s lives, offering a better way to live. This hope is driven by action and commitment to the thought of a new lifestyle. Ana Roman’s journey speaks of struggles, hope, new beginnings and successful
endings. She’s a devoted immigrant ready to face anything that stood in her way. Born and raised in Romania, while excelling in language education in her hometown, Ana believed that there could be more to life if she were to remove herself from the comfort zone. She wanted to learn more and experience more. She, along with her family, knew that the opportunities for education here in Canada are endless and extremely useful. With that being said, Ana packed up her bags and headed for Toronto, Ontario. During her studies, Ana was exposed to numerous jobs that allowed her not only to improve her English but also to improve her skills as an employee. From modeling to
"…make sure you are getting into a field you love and will continue to love in the future. Never lose track of your goal. Everything else will fall into place…" – Ana Roman, Owner of Signature Tanning
They carry a wide range of products to help maintain the health of your skin and life of your tan.
Signature's tanning rooms are private and comfortable.
managing tanning salons to working for an investment firm in Toronto, Ana was now living the normal Canadian immigrant life. “I was luckier than most immigrants”, Ana stated. Besides the emotional effects she endured with the move, she wasn’t too affected by the immigrant life. What helped her along the way was her marriage. “I didn't have problems finding a job and I had a great place to live” she shared with Top Choice. Now, although she thought she was made for marriage, she and her husband grew apart and divorced after 3 years, leaving her to the present time where her true self is finally exposed. She invested her own time and money in herself and decided to take matters into her own hands. After a few years, Ana finally took the courage to start her own business and become her own boss. “Opening up your own tanning salon is no easy task” and starting from scratch! and in Yorkville! Ana has gone from a mere immigrant woman to a super entrepreneur.
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“Knowing the language before the move really helped and opened many doors for me” especially with all the legal and financial documentations that are essential to owning your own business - “who would've known you need so many in this country.” She initially looked around to buy an establishment already built – definitely an easier way to start, but “anything in the market didn’t really match my interest or taste”. That’s when she decided to rent out a space in beautiful Yorkville so she could create a tanning salon with the designs she loved and wanted. “I am a tanner” Ana smiled, “and I think Yorkville is in need – actually deserves a really great place to tan and a place where my fellow tanners can enjoy spending their time." Ana wishes to have each customer feel an extraordinary experience in a high end facility filled with trained staff and an overall friendly atmosphere. Ana is aiming to provide to the people of Toronto not only a successful tanning
salon, but also a place that shouts glamour and richness. “A great place to be.” Now, if you are in the process of starting your own business, here are a few words of advice. “I would advise you to make sure you are getting into a field you love and will continue to love in the future. Be sure you can envision yourself being happy working there and most of all, keep focused. Never lose track of the goal you set for yourself. Be hopeful! Everything else will fall into place.” Ana concluded. “Behind a successful business, there is a brilliant mind.” Be sure to believe in yourself even through the toughest times!
1286 Bay St. in Downtown Toronto (Bay St. and Yorkville Ave.)
HEALTH & BEAUTY
Patricia Del Zotto, CEO of StemCell Heal Products Ltd.
Can We Live 120 Years? Are we 10 years away from living disease-free lives as long as 120 years? StemCell Products LLC, a key developer of age preservation products and technology, believes so. STEM CELL PRODUCTS LLC is a new science-based
company that owns proprietary peptide and stem cell extract technologies. With impressive research and development resources, as well as extensive marketing experience, the well-funded company has gathered some of the top specialists in the field of antiaging and has given them the resources to develop some of the most advanced concepts in natural health enhancement, age reversal and cell rejuvenation.
Some of the areas they are specializing in include: • An anti-aging peptide which has extended the mean life span of lab animals by 51%.
Modux7™ Hair Restoration System, underwent intense research to ensure it's effectiveness in an area often ridden with ineffective solutions.
• A n a t u r a l s u p ple m e nt delivery system capable of substantially increasing bioavailability. • A peptide technology that protects supplements from destructive enzymes. • A cosmetic regimen and product that has been clinically tested to increase skin hydration 107% within two weeks. • A breakthrough sugar-free and caffeine-free energy
drink that dramatically increases production of ATP, or the fuel that drives our cells. • A pain and sports product that dramatically reduces pain and supports healing the cause of that pain. • M a n y o t h e r p r o d u c t s under development covering the areas of hair growth, weight reduction, age reversal and enhanced immune system function.
Technology is moving so fast that within the next ten years, it is their belief that we should be able to live to 120 years of age or longer without disease. Their role during these exciting times is to provide the leading products and technology to help all of humanity in achieving a higher quality of life. Patrizia DelZotto, CEO of StemCell Heal Products Ltd. has exclusive rights to all these products here in Canada, South America, and Southeast Asia. The products will soon be expanding into Europe. Her belief in the future is with biotech, nanotech and info technologies. She believes that “the future is now” with StemCell Health Products. She is honored to be part of such a rapidly developing field. She is also working closely in manufacturing the products in each country with her son Marc Del Zotto, who is the executive vice president of StemCell. Patrizia is grateful for his contribution and explains their dynamic, explaining that she enjoys the sales end of the business while Marc works behind the scenes and keeps her grounded. They are very excited about their newest addition to their vast product line; a product named Modux7™ which aids in the restoration of hair loss, as determined through intense research completed by the US company which includes Joe Sugarman and the US team. She is grateful everyday for having Joe and the US team’s support in their never-ending commitment and development of new products. Patrizia states, “I always wanted to help people and now I have found a way to provide them cutting edge products to enhance their lives. I am focused and committed to developing and expanding these products world-wide.”
STEMCELL HEATH PRODUCTS
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1286 BAY ST. TORONTO, ON M5R 3W1
1286 Bay St
HEALTH & BEAUTY
Rumor Has It e Francesca Filippelli
NOWADAYS, THERE IS SO much information available for you to intake, that it’s almost overwhelming sometimes. Understand though, not everything you hear is the truth, especially when it comes to fashion/beauty tips. I mean, some of the things you come across will blow your mind away. Below are a list of do’s and don't’s that I’ll separate between what’s true and what’s not.
MYTH #1: Laser Hair Removal Does Not Work For Light Hair I wish I knew the individual that came up with that. This is NOT true. The closest truth to that statement is that laser hair removal does work better for darker hair, but lighter hair works just as good.
MYTH #2: Petite Girls Can’t Pull Off Lingerie I have a feeling this one is made up by men who enjoy bigger-chested girls. The variety and quantity in lingerie is huge nowadays. There are so many designs out there that work well for everyone. Ladies, don’t pay attention to these kind of things; invest in a nice uplifting water bra and you will be set.
MYTH #3: You Can’t Pull Off All Colors I used to think this way a few years ago, until I began to experiment with the SHADES of colours. “I can’t pull off that colour” shouldn’t be a sentence a woman uses. Even if the brightest blue might not match your complexion, one slightly darker might just do the job.
MYTH #4: Rubbing Lemon On Your Teeth Will Give You Pearly Whites This doesn’t work, I am sorry for all those who have been trying it for a while now. Lemon doesn’t really work on your teeth, since the citric acid in lemons wears away enamel. Here is a real trick – instead,
brush your teeth with water and baking soda; and you’ll get the whites you want!
MYTH #5: Crossing your legs will give you spider veins Oh, boy! No it won’t. Spider veins, I am sorry to announce, will follow you through genes. If your grandmother has them and your mother has them, bad news for you 99% of chance is that you will have them too.
MYTH #6: Organic Products Are Weak Organic beauty products are the best you can get! They won’t clog your pores and they protect your skin from all the harmful pollutants out there. Plus, you don’t get all the chemicals so organic beauty products are really the way to go.
MYTH #7: Chlorine Turns Your Hair Green I used to be so terrified of this – especially as a blonde – but this is also not true. This rule only applies to copper, not chlorine. If the pool is not properly maintained, it can develop copper residue which could turn your hair green, again especially since the pigment is so light, its more likely to happen to blondes.
MYTH #8: Fake Nails Will Destroy Your Real Nails I have fairly nice nails – but there is something about fake nails that makes
them look a little bit better than normal. For the first week and a half, the nails look flawless, but shortly after removing them, my real nails were completely destroyed. This is true to a certain extent. Again, I removed the nails MYSELF, picking and peeling them off. Get them removed by professionals and problems won’t arise.
MYTH #9: You Need Frequent Haircuts If You Want Your Hair To Grow Longer I feel like we are constantly being fed lies and I don’t know why. Although getting a haircut is extremely helpful to the HEALTH of our hair, it does not guarantee growth. It will definitely look better without those split ends. But I’m sure you can agree to this. Yes you, the one who has been getting haircuts monthly, yet your hair hasn’t passed your shoulders – oh wait, that’s me too…two years ago.
MYTH #10: Breakouts Are Caused By Oily Skin Although oily skin can be the cause of your breakout, that is not always the cause. In most cases, breakouts happen because the skin is so sensitive that you might be using the wrong products, therefore causing more pimples. So many things can be the cause. Educate yourself, go to a professional, invest money in yourself and find the root of the problem. Hope this helps you save some time and money the next time you're making a decision to improving your image.
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Serving Southern Ontario since 1994
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FOOD & DRINK
Lucio Vitale, Owner and Head Chef of Il Lupo Ristorante, has been recreating the essence if Italy for over 15 years.
Hungry Like A Wolf: Il Lupo Ristorante e Sabrina Cugliari
CRAVING INDIAN FOOD? YOU got it! Have an itch for some Chinese cuisine? No problem! It goes without saying that our city is one of the most multicultural around and with all these cultures comes some delectable treats. When the word Italy appears, what comes to mind? Rome? The Coliseum? Perhaps. What about spaghetti and meatballs? Asiago and prosciutto? A wood oven pizza maybe? Renowned for it’s taste and quality, Italian food is a favorite of many. Unfortunately, many of us are without the luxury of being able to hop on a nine-hour flight in order to satisfy an authentic Italian pasta craving. Luckily, Il Lupo Ristorante has taken the term “Little Italy” to heart. For the last two decades, owner and chef Lucio Vitale has served up traditional rustic Italian cuisine daily, with side dishes of passion and integrity. It was growing up in the southern part of Italy and surrounded by delicious, traditional Italian meals where Lucio’s dedication began. It was this dedication and his heart that
always lead him back to cooking the dishes that were an integral part of his childhood. Although he has set out on various entrepreneurial endeavors, Lucio always found his way back to his passion for cooking. After the Vitale family emigrated from Italy to Toronto, Lucio’s parents found their way into the restaurant business as they longed to serve meals that reminded them of their home. Their efforts did not go unnoticed and this customer appreciation as well as Lucio’s love of the dishes prompted him to take his passion and turn it into a career. As you walk into Il Lupo Ristorante it’s as if you’ve actually boarded the ninehour flight and have arrived in the Italian countryside. Surrounded by the warmth of Il Lupo’s rustic beauty, customers may mistakenly believe they are dining in a ristorante in a small Italian town rather than a restaurant in Toronto. The walls are mounted with fine wines from Italy and the smell of fresh espresso beans being grounded permeates the air. Pavarotti or Boccelli may be heard playing in the
Lucio's authentic tomato sauce is so popular, it is coming to retailers accross Canada
background as you are served authentic Italian dishes prepared with only the freshest ingredients. Various cuts of meat prepared fresh daily from the local butcher, fresh pasta and imported delicacies straight from Italy, like the buffalo mozzarella cheese that makes anything taste better, are among the various foods your taste buds will delight in at Il Lupo. These delicious dishes have been served to many people ranging from families enjoying a Sunday meal to business clients and celebrities. Regardless of the customer, as soon as the threshold of Il Lupo is crossed they become a part of the Vitale family. And if there’s one thing Italian culture promotes, it’s family. Il Lupo strives and succeeds in making all their customers feel at home. Impersonal service and dining will not be found in Lucio’s restaurant. The secret is in the sauce, as they say and Lucio’s authentic tomato sauce is no exception. Rich tomato sauce drizzled over a plate of steaming pasta is one of Italy’s most famous dishes and the attempt to replicate mouthwatering Italian sauce has been made by many. Lucio’s recipe does not fail to impress. People from all over the GTA and even as far as Florida have visited Il Lupo in order to taste his famous sauce. The sauce has been so well received, in fact, that Lucio is venturing into bottling and selling it alongside hot sauces, which will be available in Canada soon.
Il Lupo's quiet, comfortable, warm atmosphere makes it perfect for any occassion
Aside from Lucio’s thriving business, he is also excited about his daughter’s current endeavors. A hostess at Il Lupo until recently, Lucio’s daughter is carving her own path and making a name for herself in the world. A hip-hop artist going by the name Karmen Sandiego, this young lady has given her father and the Vitale family more than enough to be proud of, as she is continuously gaining momentum and success in the music scene. Busy working in LA with a producer, who coincidently goes by the name Hot Sauce, Karmen is gearing up for her own time to shine, evidently inheriting the family traits of passion and ambition. Back at home in Toronto, Il Lupo, which translates to “the wolf” in English,
continues to serve as a culinary Italian escape where every customer is family and the food does not disappoint. The authenticity and passion that Lucio has put forth in Il Lupo Ristorante will leave customers satisfied, giving them a taste of “la dolce vita” and leaving them wanting more. Buon appetito!
IL LUPO RISTORANTE
66 Plunkett Rd. (Islington South of Steeles) in North York
(416) 740-1243 illupo.ca
FOOD & DRINK
e Monica Couto
AT NIGHT, THE BODY tends to burn fewer calories; but we must not cease on feeding ourselves. Usually dinner is skipped by those who want to lose weight. Dinner is as important as any other meal of the day and leaving it aside may not be the best choice. What to eat and how much to eat at night?
Eating or not eating at night? We make three meals a day: breakfast, lunch and dinner; fruit between these meals will always be a plus. The dinner meal is essential, not eating at night will make your metabolism slow down. For those who want to lose weight or maintain control of the weight you need to eat correctly and intake all 3 daily meals.
What to eat tonight? You should opt for lighter fare and low in calories. Heavy foods, such as fatty and fried foods should be avoided, they slow down the intake, disrupt sleep and contribute to weight gain. The salads (as input), whole foods (which contains fiber), the
sandwiches and soups are a good choice for dinner.
As for eating at night? As the energy expenditure at this time is very short, due to reduced activity and sleep, the metabolism is reduced accordingly. Therefore, the nighttime makes individuals more susceptible to the accumulation of fats. The amount of food allowed on a dinner plate, will depend on the type of food that is ingested. Carbohydrates, which are the main source of energy, must be present at the dinner preferably in its entirety. The fibers will contribute for the individual to eat less, and help fight various diseases. As suggested above, it may be noted that various food groups are part of the menu, meat, vegetables, fruit and carbohydrates. This is the tip for a healthy dinner: nothing greasy and balanced foods. It is important to remember that meals with iron-rich foods should not contain calcium-rich foods such as dairy products, okay? One or the other, after all we have several meals a day for alternate sources of these minerals.
INGREDIENTS • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flatleaf parsley • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil • 1 1/2 teaspoons capers, drained and minced • 1 teaspoon minced shallots • 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard • 1/4 teaspoon grated lemon rind • 1/8 teaspoon anchovy paste • 2 (6-ounce) skinless halibut fillets • 1/4 teaspoon salt PREPARATION Combine 1 tablespoon oil, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, parsley, and next 6 ingredients (through anchovy paste) in a small bowl, toss well; set aside. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add remaining 1 teaspoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Sprinkle fish fillets evenly with salt and remaining 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Add fish fillets to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until desired degree of fineness. Serve fish with saute onions and green beans.
Oprah Winfrey: Top Choice's 2013 Humanitarian of the Year e Sabrina Cugliari p George Burns Spring 2013 36
“Why are you here? You have been called just like I have been called, we’ve all been called, not a human being on this planet has not been called and your lesson, your job, your pursuit in life is to understand fundamentally what is the calling.”
IN THE HUSTLE AND bustle of our everyday lives, we often find ourselves caught up in our own personal affairs. Family matters, personal matters, professional matters – the priority is often on ourselves. At times, however, a person comes along who proves to be a beacon of love, compassion and generosity. A person who prioritizes the needs of others above their own. At Top Choice, we believe these outstanding citizens should not go unnoticed and it is with this in mind that we began surveying Canadians. So was born the “Humanitarian of the Year”. In 2008, Top Choice awarded Arnold Schwarzenegger with the title, due to his involvement in community and politics and his influence on society. In 2013, the Canadian public has almost unanimously chosen a new honoree. The ever-compassionate, influential, Oprah Winfrey. Over the years, Oprah has become a household name. Arguably one of the
most influential people in the public eye for the last two decades, it was no surprise when Canadians chose Oprah Winfrey as their Top Choice for “Humanitarian of the Year”. Our survey results were loud and clear! When 14,235 Canadians were asked whom they would like to recognize with their nominations for Humanitarian of the Year, Oprah won by a landslide, receiving over 65% of the votes. Through her former talk show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, her monthly magazine publication O, The Oprah Magazine and her own television network OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, Oprah has touched the lives of millions of viewers while inspiring them with her powerful messages and commanding presence. By definition, a humanitarian is: “someone concerned with or seeking to promote human welfare”. Oprah is the epitome of a humanitarian. Her early childhood and adolescence was plagued with hardships, however, Oprah
Oprah taking her final bow during the finale of her talk show's 25th year on television. “There will be no makeovers, no surprises — really, no surprises,” she told her studio audience. “You will not be getting a car or a tree. This last hour is really about me saying thank you.” To the crew: “I won’t say goodbye. I’ll just say ‘until we meet again.’” persevered and strived to make her dreams come true – a message which she continues to inspire in her fans – and in 1986, The Oprah Winfrey Show began airing. On air until 2011, the talk show became one of television’s most highlyrated programs of its kind, rocketing Oprah into fame. Unlike so many others, Oprah used her fame to assist those around her. Her goal was to help them rather than herself. During the final season of her show, she even commissioned
Oprah Winfrey with students from The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa
“I’m here to share pieces of my life with you, that I hope will bring some insights and inspiration to allow you, no matter where you are in the space of your journey, to turn up the volume on your life” John Travolta and his private jet to fly her and her entire audience to Australia! Generous is a word that barely scrapes the surface of what Oprah is. Just one year ago in April 2012, Oprah brought her love and light to her Canadian fans. A sold out crowd of more than 8000 people flooded to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre to attend Oprah’s Lifeclass, a series broadcast on her OWN network filled with life lessons. She was joined at the MTCC with a handful of some of the most inspiring and motivational people including Deepak Chopra and Tony Robbins.
Most recently – on April 13 of this year, Oprah returned to visit her Canuck fans for “An Evening with Oprah” at Hamilton’s Copps Coliseum which allowed fans to get an intimate inside look at the life of Winfrey as she provided a 90-minute speech as well as a questionand-answer session. Again this Canadian visit demonstrated the massive love and appreciation Oprah’s fans have for her with an attendance of nearly 14,000 people, including, with much gratitude and satisfaction, four Top Choice Awards representatives. Top Choice Awards followers voted Oprah as their Top Choice,
now what better way to approach her with such an honour than to attend her live show. We couldn’t think of a better alternative. The evening consisted of a humorous, thoughtful and educational session focusing on turning up the volume in your life and realising the power within. “Why are you here?” Oprah began. While welcoming us with her presence she continued “I am here because I don’t do anything I don’t want to do and I wanted to be here with you tonight.” “Why are you here? You have been called just like I have been called, we’ve
all been called, not a human being on this planet has not been called and your lesson, your job, your pursuit in life is to understand fundamentally what is the calling” Oprah continues. “We felt that our calling on the day of April 13, 2013 was to deliver a message – Oprah being Canada's Top Choice, and what started as a working trip soon progressed into moments of insightful information slapping us in the face to wake up and to listen to the callings of our everyday life” Monica Couto, President of Top Choice Awards concludes. Drawing a crowd of this magnitude is in itself a testament to the overwhelming influence Oprah has had on fans worldwide. A mentor to many, Oprah is not only enjoyable to watch with her energy and firm convictions, but also easy to love as her kind-hearted nature shines through her personality. Her famous quotes and the advice she extends to fans are not just empty words and suggestions. Oprah truly practices what she preaches and it is because of this that she has become one of the key influential figures of modern society. Oprah’s charity work is endless and often unmatched. Aside from inspiring fans in every facet of life – for example, Oprah’s Book Club is a respected and well received platform she uses to suggest her favorite books to fans – Oprah has created one of the largest business empires in existence. Her brand extends to all facets of media. Unarguably, Oprah is a business mogul whose success and efforts allows her to be one of the most influential people in society. Oprah Winfrey is the recipient of numerous awards and recognition for her television program and her charity work
“Everyday you get to paint on the canvas that is your life, that we all get to add lights and shadows and colours, every action every thought every feeling is painting on the canvas of our life creating more vibrancies sometimes bringing things to focus, as we begin to evolve ourselves.”
Oprah Winfrey greeted by Corus Entertainment's President and CEO John Cassaday and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police at Corus Quay in Toronto In Oprah's Lifeclass, Oprah Winfrey takes the stage as teacher in one of the world's biggest classrooms alongside handpicked experts. Highlighting the principles that guide her life. Oprah and Dr. Phil Oprah Winfrey on stage with Joel Osteen in Houston, Texas.
and now Top Choice’s “Humanitarian of the Year” can be added to this list. Through her words, her business ventures and her charity work, Oprah has captured the attention, inspired the lives, and earned the love and respect of millions. As Oprah has already proven, the sky’s the limit and
as time passes her influence on fans continues to increase. Top Choice is proud to call Oprah Winfrey “Canada’s Humanitarian of the Year”! For everything Oprah, visit, you guessed it, Oprah.com
The view from Atlantis Pavilions was worthy of the talented businesses, professionals and media in attendance.
Top Choice Awards 2012 Top Choice Awards recognizes the best in the Greater Toronto Area with a glamourous night of celebration that stimulated all senses. e Francesca Filippelli A SURPRISE TO NONE, Top Choice Awards exceeded expectations with the 7th Annual Top Choice Awards Gala held at Atlantis Pavillions, Ontario Place. The Award ceremony was presented by ILAC in association with TAC Physiotherapy along with Eddie Quindamo Mortgage Specialist. A 6 month online voting process built up the momentum to one of the biggest and
Yes, it is what you think it is! That is a nude sushi platter.
"We like this award 'cause it's voted on by people, it's not manufactured, it's real. Of the awards we've won, and we've won a few, the ones that mean the most to us are the ones that people actually get a chance to vote on." – Dean Blundell, 102.1 The Edge
(counter clockwise from top left) Dean Blundell – Host of The Dean Blundell Show (DBS), Steve Anthony – Co-host of CP24 Breakfast, Todd Shapiro – Co-host of DBS, David Silvestre and Monica Couto – CEO and President of Top Choice Awards, Tanya Humphrey-Anthony, Education Counselor at Laureate Intl. University
most glamorous events Toronto has to offer. With over 30 winners attending, some of the most successful entrepreneurs were anxiously awaiting their big night at the red carpet affair. Top Choice Awards started off the night with their trademark reception, emphasizing networking and providing attendees a dose of entertainment while teasing their taste buds … a little taste of things to come. There was an assortment of delectable sushi & sashimi displayed atop of a beautiful nude female model. An oyster bar with the freshest oysters & garnishes to satisfy your taste buds. Relaxing back massages available to those wanting to melt away the stress of a long week, and to prepare for Friday night festivities! Mouth watering dishes and meats and decadent desserts to tantalize your sweet tooth. The
Ambiance and decor by Susan Murray.
Tasting Europe with Portuguese style appetizers by Bairrada Grill House.
Steve Anthony from CP24 stole the show with "award stripping" with every award he presented, a piece of clothing went flying!
Emily's Bakery took care of everyone's sweet tooth. The Gala showcases what Canada is made of, multiculturalism is one beautiful example.
Actress Michelle Argyris was an awards presenter during the event .
Hector Hernandez, the Cuban sensation, took everyone on a vocal trip to Latin America.
It was no news that 680 News was voted Top Radio News Program.
Liz Rodriguez's voice over-powered our sound system! She made the night unforgettable.
Ginza Sushi on Weston and Langstaff provided live chefs to prepare the freshest sushi.
TAC Physiotherapy took the stress away.
Francesca Filippelli, Top Choice Media, interviewing Mike Strobel, Top Journalist of the Year.
There is no "ice" to break while networking at Top Choice events, it's actually FUN!
Scott Fox from Z103.5 "tastes" success for 4 years in a row!
Grenville "G" Pinto isn't just a violinist. He's so much more. A complete musician. A showman. An entertainer. Fun. Class. An artist.
Ashley Greco receiving the award for Top Female Radio Personality of the Year.
Ivanka Trump accepted the award for Top Businesswoman of 2012 via video. You can watch the full video on YouTube.
Samba Brazil, heated up the venue.
Page & Associates during the networking reception.
atmosphere and ambiance was a room full of positivity, inspiration and success. You really felt like you were part of something grand as the local "Paparazzi" captured so many "had to be there" moments! Top Choice really went above and beyond to ensure everyone enjoyed and experienced the tastes, sights, smells and sounds of an award winning gala. As the reception came to an end, guests made their way down the stairs to the main hall where the award ceremony transpired. Susan Murray International created an astonishing decor and display of table arrangements fit for the elegance that Top Choice Awards is well-known for. CEO of Top Choice Media, David Silvestre, and President of Top Choice
Awards, Monica Couto, were the first to enter the stage expressing their gratitude to all attendees. The first award of the night was one to remember as the lovely Ivanka Trump received the Award for Top Businesswoman of the Year. She thanked Torontonians for voting via video for everyone in attendance. Other award recipients had their awards presented to them throughout the night by Toronto’s Top Media Guest presenters, which included Steve Anthony, co-host of CP24 Breakfast; Ashley Greco, announcer on 104.5 CHUM FM; Scott Fox, host of the Morning Show on Z103.5 Toronto; Dean Blundell and Todd Shapiro, weekday mornings on 102.1 The Edge; all of whom were on hand to receive their own awards
Dynamic Hospitality receiving their award from Monica Couto, President of Top Choice Awards.
in their respective categories. As simple as that may sound, Steve Anthony added an extra little something to spice things up a bit. Each winner was followed by a piece of Steve Anthony’s clothing, for he believed the award was not enough. A great atmosphere was created; laughter and humor took over the room as he slowly retrieved his clothing and returned to his seat. We are already receiving nominations for 2013. What does next year’s event hold in store? You’ll have to wait and find out. One thing’s for sure; it will be bigger and better than ever...a promise we have kept each and every year. See you then. See all the photos at bit.ly/topchoice2012 or visit us online at topchoiceawards.com.
FAMILY & COMMUNITY
Faculty Members at Yip’s Music and Montessori School: Katherine Kwok and Kenny Yu, Yip's Canada Administrator and Director, Amy Or, Thornhill Campus Principal and Elsa Lee, Markham, Unionville & Somerset Campus Principal (Montessori Division)
Elevated Education: Forming Foundations for Success e Sabrina Cugliari
IF ONE WORD COULD be used to describe today’s work force, regardless of the field of focus, that word would be competitive. The constant waves of post secondary graduates vying for job opportunities coupled with those who, luckily, already find themselves with secure employment set the bar high for anyone seeking employment. Once upon a time, those in possession of a Bachelor’s Degree were front-runners in the race for employment. Now more than ever, it seems that BAs are no longer the finish line. Societal focus on education is undeniable, and the key to a well-rounded educational structure is a strong educational foundation. This is exactly what Yip’s Music and Montessori Schools provide its students. Founded in 1990 by Katherine Kwok with 3 staff members and 60 students at its main campus, the school has grown to a staff of 125 and 1100 students at 5 different locations in York Region. Yip’s main campus is located in Markham and offers a plethora of advantages and activities for students. With a focus on music, visual arts and performing arts, Yip’s provides a
pre-school education that is unmatched among other institutions. After gaining a well-rounded Montessori education provided in the Toddler, JK, and SK programs, Yip’s SK graduates progress to the Ontario Elementary Education Curriculum at Somerset Academy. One need only take into consideration the accomplishments and achievements
Yip’s School and Somerset have attained in order to grasp the term “higher education”. With a strong focus on academics, sports and multiculturalism, there is an enriched school environment with staff and students of diverse ethnic backgrounds, already adding to the advantage of being a multilingual school that includes the English, French and Chinese languages. Yip’s active role in
HAPPINESS IN FULL SUPPLY: The children are noticably happy and very personable. Showing no signs of shyness, they start playing with our photographer right away.
Editor's Note I could not let this article go to press without including my own experience at Somerset. During a tour of the academy, I had the pleasure to be guided by Darren, a Grade 7 Somerset Student. During a relatively short visit Darren made me confident that we have a bright future ahead of us. He is not only a top notch student, but a person who embodies all of the values that we, as a society, need to live happy, full lives. This is not a school, it is not an "alternative" way to educate, it is THE way we should be raising our children. I hope more people follow in the footsteps of
Leader in the making: Darren, Grade 7 Somerset Student providing Top Choice a tour of Somerset Academy with his teacher Mr. Berney tagging along.
augmenting the appreciation of Chinese culture and language helps nurture the young generation, making them more culturally sensitive and equipping them with the language and skills that will be of use in a future career. A Chinese Literacy Contest is held annually by the school to promote Chinese language appreciation among the young generation. The event has grown hugely in size and popularity; so much so that children of other ethnic origins participate or even win the contest. The administrators and staff at Yip’s Music and Montessori Schools maintain ongoing and close communication with parents and students to monitor individual progress and the quality of teaching. Each student at the school has an Individual Education Plan (IEP), which is an individualized, tailored program designed to assess the student’s capability and performance. The IEP also acts as a guideline for teachers to develop inclusive classroom environments. The school uses an online communication system called Moodle, used by many post-secondary institutions, which is designed to deliver accurate and detailed lessons and homework assignment information. Somerset Academy picks up academically where Yip’s leaves off, giving students an opportunity to participate in an accelerated academic setting that prepares them for success in high school and beyond. A focus on creativity coupled with academics proves as a recipe for success. In the 22 years Yip’s Schools have been operating in Canada, hundreds of children have been nurtured by the wonder of music. Performing arts help students learn self-discipline and team work, handle challenges, and enhance social skills and self-confidence. The school hosts an annual not-for-profit music festival in Markham to promote piano and violin music among young talent. Each year the school offers over $10, 000 in scholarship and trophies to winners. The inclusion of
his parents and invest in their children's future now.
FACILITATING SUCCESS: The academies feature a full set of ammenities to enrich the learning experience across the entire range of subjects.
music in the curriculum and community prove to be well received with the contest receiving 700 entries in 2012 alone. Again, Somerset retains the focus on these
creative arts as each spring, Somerset players take to the stage to present an annual school production. Ranging from Grade Two to Grade Eight, students have put
Faculty Members at Somerset Academy: Katherine Kwok, Administrator/Director of Yip's Canada and Somerset Academy, John Berney, Vice Principal/Athletic Director, Cathy Barogianis, Principal/Discipline Coordinator and Christian Bayly, Vice Principal/Special Education
together such productions as Wizard of Oz, Beauty and the Beast, The Jungle Book and A Nightmare Before Christmas. Somerset’s focus extends beyond academics and the arts as all their students are members of the Small Schools Athletic Federation (SSAF), allowing them to participate in an extensive variety of Varsity Sports. As if the above is not enough to prove that Yip’s and Somerset schools strive and succeed in providing their students with an elevated education, their involvement in community relations and cultural enrichment seals the deal. The schools run after-school programs and summer camps, mingling events with parents, and major festivals in which students, parents and staff alike organize and participate in. Serving the Markham community for the past 22 years, Yip’s has also participated in numerous charity and community work in Markham, across Canada and overseas. It’s not-for-profit subsidiary, Yip’s Children’s Choir, has volunteered and performed at hundreds of local and international cultural and music festivals, winning tremendous applause and appreciation from the audience. In 2006, the Choir was part of the opening of North America’s largest live Chinese Concert with over 20, 000 people in attendance at Toronto’s Rogers Centre. The Choir was also invited to perform by Florida’s Disney World and Universal Studios in mid July 2007. Recently, in 2011, Yip’s Choir was invited by Unisong Festival of Ottawa to perform with 250 choir members on Canada Day at the main stage of the National Arts Centre. With these achievements and many more under their belt, Yip’s Music and Montessori Schools and its affiliate school,
“School must be about community, communication and family in order to be successful.”
Somerset Academy, continue to grow and flourish. In its 20th anniversary, due to increased demand from the Markham community, Yip’s formed York School for Strings and Toronto’s first children’s orchestra – York Children’s Orchestra to further promote the spirit of instrumental music. The administrators and staff continue to work closely with its parents and students enabling the foundation for excellence. The educators feel that it is imperative to stick to their roots. “School must be about community, communication and family in order to be successful.” Quoting Jamie Escalante, an American Educator, “We want our kids to be successful…we want them to be winners.” With a focus on academics, athletics and the arts, the well-rounded education provided by Yip’s Music and Montessori Schools puts their students and graduates well ahead of the game.
Interested in putting your child on the path to success? TODDLER (AGE 1.5 – 2.5) to CASA (AGE 2.5 - 5)
Yip's Music & Montessori School 4 Locations in Markham and Vaughan T 905-948-9477 (YIPS) O www.yips.com GRADES 1 TO 8
TEACHING MATTERS: Classrooms are pretty typical, with a few interesting twists. It's the small class size and extra attention from the teachers that really shine here.
Somerset Academy 7700 Brimley Road in Markham T 905-940-8990 O www.somersetacademy.ca
Music & Montessori School Voted Top Montessori School of 2012 in Markham
In pursuit of Excellence in Academic, Language and Performing Arts
School Locations Markham • Thornhill • Unionville
DEDICATED STAFF & CHALLENGING CURRICULUMS • • • • • •
Low teacher-student ratio Strong academics and extra curriculums Hot lunch provided Toddler (Age 1.5 to 2.5) Casa (Age 2.5 to 5) Elementary (Grades 1 to 8)
COMPREHENSIVE PROGRAMS • • •
English, French, Chinese (Cantonese, Mandarin) Music (Piano, Violin, Cello, Rudiments & Music Appreciation) Mathematics, computer skills, homework tutorial
AFTER-SCHOOL PROGRAM • • •
Professional and experienced instructors Small group format Personalized program for each level
(905) 948-YIPS (9477)
FAMILY & COMMUNITY
Kicks Dance Studio DIrectors and Owners Courtney Drake and Jo-Ann Bryson-Ko (center) receive the Top Choice Award from Monica Couto, President of Top Choice Awards (left), and Francesca Filippelli, Business Review Specialist for Top Choice Magazine (right)
KICKS Dance Studio Top Choice Dance Studio of 2012 in Markham STUDIO DIRECTORS AND OWNERS, Jo-Ann Bryson-Ko
and her daughter, Courtney Drake are proud of all the wonderful accomplishments the studio has achieved over the past 29 years! They pride themselves in offering quality dance classes to boys and girls, recreational and competitive, from ages 2 to adult. All students have the opportunity to perform in the KICKS year end performance at the Markham Theatre! KICKS is also the “home studio” of the Toronto Raptors Jr. Dance Pak! The team rehearses new routines choreographed and taught by Studio Director Courtney Drake! The Winter Olympics was a big event for the Town of Markham! Courtney was asked by the Town to choreograph and produce a 10 min tap dance and percussive routine for the Olympic Torch Relay! A very special event and an honour!
The studio’s foundation is built from a very talented, versatile team of dance educators, building self-esteem, confidence, musical appreciation along with teaching excellent dance technique. Classes are offered in mini dance, ballet, jazz, tap, acro, hip hop, musical theatre, lyrical, contemporary, technique and conditioning. We are pleased to announce an addition to the program in 2013 will be vocal training and song and dance classes! KICKS prides itself in offering R.A.D. Ballet Exams, grades through to vocational, including Advanced 2! The competitive dance team wins numerous awards and scholarships consistently at both provincial and national levels! KICKS students have also competed in Germany on the Canadian National Tap Team as well as the National Showdance and Hip Hop Teams! Students have also performed in professional shows....
The Lion King, The Sound of Music, Angelina The Ballerina and The Nutcracker! KICKS plays an important part in the community by supporting many fundraising events. The studio has participated and p e r fo r m e d fo r t h e Sick Kids Foundation, York Regional Police “Elimination of Racial Discrimination Day”, Markham Hospice, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Markham and Unionville BIA, and the Markham Milliken Children’s Festival to name a few. KICKS has a dance class for you...why not try a FREE Class?
KICKS DANCE STUDIO
50 Bullock Drive in Markham 905-294-2618 kicksdance.ca
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Hermano Pereira, Founded Dundas Woodwindows & Specialties over 25 years ago. Today, he is proud to see the company succeeding under the management of his children.
Windows of Opportunity: A Family`s Success e Sabrina Cugliari
BLOOD IS THICKER THAN water as the saying goes and often, this saying proves true. The ties between members of a family are often unbreakable; strong and deep. So when it comes to launching and running a successful business, who better to have by your side than the people that care for you and inspire you? Hermano and Nelson Pereira, a father/son duo who own and operate Dundas Woodwindows & Specialties are prime examples of this sentiment. Hermano Pereira, President of DWW, always desired being his own boss and earning a better living to provide a better life for his family. After emigrating from Portugal in 1962 at the age of 17, Hermano worked for a local wood window manufacturer. As a young man, he remained in the window manufacturing business and became a plant foreman at another company. Eventually, Hermano decided to make a change. He took a chance, starting DWW in 1985, manufacturing all-wood windows and selling them directly to contractors and homeowners.
The company has grown and flourished since its beginnings more than 25 years ago. Motivated by his father's work ethic and his desire to be successful, Hermano's son, Nelson, began working at DWW at the age of 15, becoming a full time employee at the age of 19. Now, at 43 with the title of Vice President, Nelson has shared his views on the key to a successful business and what it means to keep it in the family with Top Choice. Nelson named uncertainty during the business start up as the biggest struggle the Pereira family has undergone. "With my dad leaving a secure job and not knowing what was going to happen...putting your home and everything you had worked for up to that point on the line knowing that it could all be gone." Similar fears have plagued likeminded entrepreneurs, however, Nelson's father's perseverance allowed for success and growth. "[At the time], my father was dealing with some very serious health issues (and continues to do so), but that never stopped him or made him afraid to tryâ€“hard
With so many choices today, it is important now more than ever to be able to work through details, keep on top of trends, try new things and help the client make the right choices." – Nelson Pereira, Vice-President work and honesty always pays off." It's these values that allow DWW to be so successful. The hard work and honesty the company puts into all they do is what allows clients to feel confident doing business with them. "[Customers] get excellent value and great service—there are no "smoke and mirrors— what you see is what you get." And it is this honest approach that Nelson believes makes DWW stand out amongst competitors, "I think that there is a lot of that missing today. People just want honesty. I know for sure that clients love the fact that we are a true family business and they get to see this dynamic between my dad, my sisters and myself–it makes them feel comfortable because there's so much involvement." This family dynamic extends to unrelated employees. "Without the right people," Nelson says, "your business goes nowhere. We owe a lot to our employees, their efforts and hard work plays a major role in the success of DWW up to now." All employees at DWW have been with the company for at least 15 years, with a few of them having been with the company from its formation. This close knit relationship among the employees makes it effortless to form a successful rapport with customers. For Hermano, Nelson and the employees at DWW, it's all about customer service. And it is this pride in customer service that motivates for success. "The passion for the industry is my motivation—helping people make their dreams a reality. Making people happy and assisting them in making the proper decisions so that at the end of the construction project there is something they and we can be proud of." This success for the Pereira family and their business is a great feeling. "I feel very satisfied with what we have been able to accomplish so far. I am very proud of my father and everything that he has accomplished and I appreciate the opportunity that he has created for my sisters, Janet and Karen, and myself." As with any entrepreneurial endeavor, there are always lessons to be learned. Trial and error is often the key to success. But Nelson doesn't believe he would do anything differently. "I have made some
The Sibling Management Team (left to right): Karen Raposo, Office Manager, Nelson Pereira, Vice-President , Janet De Nobrega, Architectural Sales Representative
mistakes along the way, that's for sure, but sometimes those mistakes have to be made in order to figure out how to do it right or figure out the way around a problem." His advice for anyone looking to start their own business is to start with finding their passion. "There has to be enjoyment," he explains. He lists patience, setting achievable goals and having an open mind as a few key starter points. Being aware of what is going on in the targeted industry is a necessity as well. "With so many choices today, it is important now more than ever to be able to work through details, keep on top of trends, try new things and help the client make the right choices." Family owned and operated Dundas Wood Windows embodies all the qualities of what it takes to be a successful business. Their focus on customer service and the
quality of work that only a tight knit group can offer, allows them to continue to flourish among competitors. The combination of offering a full line of quality window and door products, and the large fabrication capacities of their manufacturers Andersen and Ostaco allows the company to fill any size order. With an entrepreneurial twist on "keeping it in the family", the sky's the limit for DWW. "We love what we do and we enjoy working together."
DUNDAS WOODWINDOWS & SPECIALTIES INC.
(416) 534-4593 2113 Dundas St. W in Toronto dundaswoodwindows.ca
Let a Contractor Create the House Exterior You Have Always Wanted Whether you are thinking of adding a porch, balcony, or patio to your home, you should use a contractor for the task to ensure safety, appearance, and longevity. e Anna Woodward MANY PEOPLE THINK OF using a contractor to improve the interior of their home, but you can also get the exterior of the house redone, too. You can add or improve existing structures both in your front yard and backyard with the help of a professional. Consider some ways for this kind of expert to make your property a little more appealing, functional and valuable. Most backyards can use a patio. You need a stable place to put a table and chairs so that you can eat outside or enjoy some drinks. Placing chairs on grass can leave dead spots in the lawn, while putting them on gravel does not feel very steady. This is why patios are so popular, as they are quite versatile, working as a great place to put anything you need outside. If you just have a small backyard, then a small patio should work well for some chairs, a grill, and possibly a small baby pool. If you have a huge backyard, then an extended patio with a built-in grill, complete with counter space, can add value to the house. Of course, most homes
HOME IMPROVEMENT: Additions to your home, such as interlock, properly landscaped front and back yards and decks not only make your home more enjoyable, they can often pay for themselves in the value they add to your home. But quality DOES matter.
with pools need spacious patios so that people have plenty of space to walk around the water. A contractor can help with all of these features so that the result looks professional, and is safe and long lasting. If you have a two-story home, a balcony is a great feature to have. Many homes of this type come with one built-in, but you can still spice it up, such as with a new railing or a better floor. If your house does not have a balcony, but there is plenty of space for one, you may be able to hire a contractor to build one. This is not something you should attempt on your own due to the height involved, which is why it is best to use a professional for the job. If you have a single-story home, then a porch may be the best thing to get. You can choose a classic wrap around porch, which many people love, so this may add value to
your property. You can also select a simple porch where you can enjoy the view of your front yard while relaxing with some drinks. You have the convenience of choosing the type of porch you want, including the materials and the style, and then having the contractor you hire make sure it is completed with safety, durability, and appearance in mind. Whether you want to sell your house soon and wish to add some value, or want to be able to relax easily outside, you should consider some outdoor upgrades. Using a contractor for the job, no matter which upgrades you decide on, is a good idea if you want the result to be safe. You can simply let the expert know your preferences, and then go over whether they are feasible for the project. Then you can watch as your dream house exterior is created.
OF YOUR HOME
Your home is the biggest investment you’ll ever make. With Alliance Exteriors, you can improve it’s beauty, longevity and value. WOOD FENCES & DECKS
416 662 2123 SEE WORK SAMPLES AT ALLIANCEEXTERIORS.CA CALL FOR A FREE ESTIMATE
ExpoSystems: Making YOU Stand Out! Shopping for your tradeshow display or exhibit doesn't get any easier than this. EXPOSYSTEMS IS THE LARGEST
Canadian modular trade show display & exhibit manufacturer. They offer the most comprehensive selection of portable, modular and custom modular displays and a complete range of Show Services. With in-house, no-charge design and a state-ofthe-art print facility, ExpoSystems offers the convenience of one-stop shopping. ExpoSystems offers an extensive selection of banner stands, pop-up and tabletop displays. These portable, lightweight units are easy to assemble and can be used as a stand-alone display or easily integrated into larger exhibits. ExpoProfile Kitz are like a “Booth in a Box”. They are cost effective, easy to pack and ship and come with a lifetime warranty. These off-the-shelf display kits have several accessory options to add a unique and customized look.
Big or Small: ExpoSystems carries a complete line of banner and display systems that can be utilized in large trade shows and smaller events alike.
ExpoSystems can design and build any size modular or custom modular display using one of their proprietary modular display systems. ExpoProfile Modular Display System is a lightweight, versatile modular rail system made from 85% post-consumer recycled aluminum. It can be used to create an infinite variety of exhibits, and is an excellent choice for adding a custom touch with the flexibility to be expanded upon as needs change. Edge Modular Display System is the ultimate in custom modular displays. This durable, lightweight panel system has an aluminum frame with a honey comb core made from recycled materials. The laminated panels come in thousands of colours and textures, are easy to assemble, and offer a custom look with the convenience of modularity. ExpoSystems offers a wide range of display accessories to add the finishing touch to any display. From literature stands, to poster rails and numerous lighting options, they have the selection to complement any exhibit. The company understands that tradeshows can be time consuming and. they can help ease the pressure by looking after any or all of the details. Whether it’s every show service detail, or just a few pieces, ExpoSystems can do it all. ExpoSystems believes it is everyone’s responsibility to be mindful and respectful of the environment and they continually seek ways to reduce waste and minimize negative environmental impact. ExpoSystems offers a complete range of environmentally-friendly exhibit solutions, and only use environmentally-friendly inks for all printing. Modular displays, are by their very nature an environmentally responsible solution, as they can be reconfigured, reused and re-designed. Products are manufactured to high specifications with stringent quality guidelines and control. They offer some of the best manufactured products in the industry and are confident clients will be pleased with the quality and performance of their purchase. All ExpoSystems manufactured products are covered under a lifetime warranty.
ExpoSystems is the largest modular tradeshow display manufacturer in Canada. With more than 40 years of experience, ExpoSystems offers a complete range of tradeshow display solutions and services; from no-charge design and re-design, in house large format graphics production and display manufacturing to all show services. ExpoSystems is your one stop shop for all of your exhibiting needs.
ExpoSystems â€“ Making YOU Stand Out
T 416-291-2932 | Toll Free: 1.800.263.3976 www.exposystems.com
The Painters Group The Painters Group was founded in 1998, George and Silvia Cuccovillo started in the painting industry as a family run business that grew steadily over time thanks to many loyal customers. Their guiding principles are honesty, integrity, reliability, respect, and pride of the work that they do, the most common phrase in their company is â€œto do the right thingâ€?...and it has served them well, they were honoured by the Markham Board of Trade with their prestigious High Service and Quality Award in 2008 and in 2011 and came on top with the most votes for High Quality Service and Value provided by Top Choice Awards. The Painters Group services involve all interior and exterior painting services in the residential, commercial, industrial and institutional fields as well as drywall, plaster and stucco repairs. In order to provide each of our clients with top quality service, many of the jobs required minor renovation work prior to do the painting or finishing touches, reasoning why The Painters Group can do a variety of preparatory work including drywall, plaster, shelving, tiling and carpentry work. In 2009 The Painters Group launched a program with Sutton Group; the program was called the realtor advantage program and was offered to all their agents. The
The company celebrated its third Top Choice Award in 2012.
program was designed to offer strategic painting to save painting costs to their clients that many times could be easily resolved by just doing general touch ups, The Painters Group offered as well 24 hours emergency painting services, not only for contracting companies but also for interior decorators, interior designers, and all residential, industrial and commercial field.
Designed plaster repair
Commercial stucco and painting
The company has been recognized for its excellence with awards from the Markham Board of Trade in 2008, 2011 and Top Choice Awards from 2010-2012.
THE PAINTERS GROUP
O thepaintersgroup.ca T Toll-free (866) 436-6108
cleanse yourself, naturally We are all born from nature, yet few have discovered the true healing power that nature has to offer. Manuel Antonio Medeiros has dedicated his life to finding natural treatments for many of todayâ€™s most common ailments.
Before you go to the drug store, go to Victoria.
go back to nature.
Top Alternative Health Service of 2012 in Toronto
Natural Medicine Consulting = Vitamins and Natural Supplements = Homeopathic/Naturopathic Products = Massage Therapy = Physiotherapy = Acupuncture = Nutritional Consulting = Psychotherapy = Natural Foods and Beverages
Toronto 416.603.7978 920 Dundas St. W
Hamilton 905.523.7305 10 Barton St. E Montreal 514.287.8967 4175 Rue St. Dominique www.ErvanariaVictoria.com
Top Choice Awards Gives Its Survey a Little Love The 2013 survey introduces categories to help singles find love online and offline. e Carmelia Ray WITH SO MANY PROFESSIONAL singles today searching for love both online and offline, Top Choice could not ignore the opportunity to introduce three new categories for people to vote for.
1. 2. 3.
Top Dating Company Top Matchmaking Service Top Dating/Relationship Coach
Online Dating Sites / Dating Company There are thousands of online dating sites and it can be very confusing for today’s single professional to know exactly where they might find Mr. or Mrs. Right. With the rise of so many new niche dating sites, along with the selection of traditional established sites such as Match.com, E-harmony, Christian Café, O.K Cupid, POF and Lavalife (headquarters based in Toronto), it’s hard to know which site will work best for you. Clearly a vote from the people should give you some indication of where singles are looking for, and finding love online & offline. Maybe you feel more comfortable with speed dating such as
fastlife.ca or going joining singles adventure groups such as Meet Market Adventures or Meetup.com. If you’re single and looking, you should figure out what works best for you by exploring your options!
Matchmaking Services If online dating, speed dating, blind dates or going to bars is NOT your cup of tea, a Matchmaking service is probably a great option for you. Traditional matchmaking, in some form or another, has been around for hundreds of years and not only continues to evolve, but is thriving in today's environment. At eLove (elove.ca), which has been matchmaking for over 37 years to date, conducts a criminal background check and meets all clients face-face. A traditional matchmaking service will typically focus on matching based on true and overall compatibility and likelihood for long-term relationship by introducing you to someone who already shares a number of important values and a similar lifestyle. Lifemates, is another traditional matchmaking service who has offices in major cities across Canada.
Dating/Relationship Coach Coaching has become increasingly valuable in many other areas of our life such as fitness, finance, parenting, education, motivation…why not dating & relationships? When it comes to dating and relationships, thousands of singles have come to me seeking advice. After all, sometimes it’s easier speaking to someone who won’t judge you and is outside of your social circle. If you don’t feel comfortable seeking advice from family and friends and revealing your personal relationship challenges, hiring a coach is a great option.
For more great dating & relationship tips, visit my blog at DatingLoveAndSexTips.com. For one-to-one date & relationship coaching, you can visit me at CarmeliaRay.com
Let us grow them into the garden of your dreams. Before the first shovel touches the earth, the talented landscape designers at Green Valley will assess every aspect of your exterior space, whether residential or commercial. Theyâ€™ll work with you, hand-in-hand, helping to bridge the gap between your landscaping ideas and reality, taking on all the challenges presented by your property. This may include addressing practical issues like climate, soil type and drainage along with aesthetic considerations such as plant selection and garden design. At Green Valley, we are committed to leaving no stone unturned in our ongoing efforts to arrive at results that will satisfy all of your landscaping needs.
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Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) (www.woodbineentertainment.com) is the largest operator of horse racing in Canada and is recognized as one of the most innovative in North America. As a strong community partner, WEG actively lends its leadership to a number of community organizations and environmental causes and is one of two not-for-profit corporations that are members of Imagine Canada, a national program that promotes public and corporate giving, volunteerism and support to the community Know When To Take The Reins - ResponsibleGambling.org.
Business Reviews Welcome to Top Choice's Reviews Section. This is where we bring you an upclose look at businesses and products from around the GTA. Our business review specialists put themselves on the line, we review so you don't have to!
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Prices are based on our experience with similar businesses, services and products in the same category as the one reviewed.
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For the latest reviews or to get your business reviewed, visit: Monica Couto and Francesca Filippelli Business Review Specialists
TopChoiceMagazine.com/reviews Spring 2013
Pure Spirits Oyster House & Grill You don’t have to be an oyster lover to leave Pure Spirits with a smile on your face. From front of house to back of kitchen, this place is filled with sights, sounds, taste and service that make it stand out amongst others in the Distillery District and a place worth “going out of your way” for. e Monica Couto IF YOU’RE LIKE ME, then you really appreciate taking a walk through Toronto’s Distillery District. There’s quite a lot of history and culture packed into this little corner of the city, it definitely takes more than a few visits to take it all in. Luckily there are places like Pure Spirits Oyster Bar & Grill that make coming back a pleasure. The decor inside Pure Spirits is a full embrace of the District’s rich history with a few charming touches of their own. The interior bares all with raw brick walls, paned glass windows and exposed ceiling beams. The long narrow is complemented by a near full-length bar serving up fresh shucked oysters and drinks alike. The raw interior is the perfect complement to the cleanly plated, brightly coloured dishes coming out of the kitchen.
It won’t be long into your service before you realize the comradery between the service staff. Organized, friendly and knowledgeable, you will feel comfortable instantly. Our server, Arthur, not only shared in-depth details on each dish, but he also shared his own personal opinions on them and was helpful in making recommendations based on our preferences. It was an instant friendship! Once the food hit the table, we understood where Arthur’s emanating confidence was coming from. Plate after plate of fresh, flavourful dishes showcased the expertise and passion in the kitchen. I always love to know what I’m eating and these dishes were visually pleasing, placing a strong emphasis on fresh ingredients. The creative plating
ensured you could see the freshness as much as you could taste it. Each dish was paired with wine that was carefully selected to complement its distinct flavour profile. This is where you truly experience the marriage between the staff labouring on both sides of the kitchen door. Nearing the end of the meal, I am nothing less than satisfied. I have been on a flavour tour with each taste better than the last. My expectations are soaring, dessert is on it’s way and I don’t know how the Chef can make this meal any better. On the flip side, I really don’t want this meal to be ruined by a bad dessert...it’s happened to all of us. A single taste of dessert confirms that the next time I’m in the mood for fresh seafood and a great time, I will be making my way to Pure Spirits.
PURE SPIRITS OYSTER BAR & GRILL
17 Tank House Lane in Toronto’s Distillery District (55 Mill Street, Building 46) 416.361.5859 purespirits.ca FOOD
$ $ $ $ $
Wendy’s Flatbread Grilled Chicken Five grain artisan bread. Spring mix. All-white meat chicken breast. Two bold flavours. Is your mouth watering yet? We’d like to introduce you to Wendy’s new Flatbread Grilled Chicken sandwich. e Sabrina Cugliari WE AT TOP CHOICE Magazine are very selective on which products and services we spend our time reviewing. We receive tons of emails and direct mail from people asking us to try out their products or services and provide some feedback. Despite our best efforts, it can be difficult to meet all the requests, but when Wendy’s asked us to try their new flatbread sandwich, we couldn’t wait to chow down. Proving once again that Wendy’s is much more than just a burger joint, the restaurant chain has added the new Flatbread Grilled Chicken sandwich to their menu. Available at Wendy’s locations in the US and Canada, Wendy’s is redefining the fast food experience. Perfect for anyone who’s looking for a nice change to the usual burger and fries combo, the sandwich is available in two bold flavours: Smoky Honey Mustard and Asiago Ranch. I chose to try the Asiago Ranch Flatbread and I was far from disappointed. The delicious new grilled chicken options come packed with flavour. The sandwich comes prepared in multigrain flatbread, carefully crafted by
artisan bakers. The result is exceptional multigrain bread that won’t be found at your typical sandwich shop. Warm and toasted on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside, the flatbread is low in saturated fats and sodium and delicious to boot! Grilled chicken breast with all white meat is topped with a garden spring mix, Applewood smoked bacon, Asiago cheese, tomato slices and ranch sauce. The ingredients all complement each other, creating an experience for your taste buds that’s hard to find among other fast-food chains. The success is not only found in the ingredients, but in the preparation as well. The sandwich was artfully arranged, not just thrown together. From the first bite, the Asiago Ranch Flatbread proved to be more than just a quick fast-food lunch. The freshness was evident in the ingredients and the inclusion of the Ranch sauce results in a creamy, delightful sandwich. The sandwich was anything but dry, which I find is often a major issue when it comes to grabbing a quick bite. The Smoky Honey Mustard Flatbread is similar to the Asiago Ranch Flatbread
including the same ingredients with the exception of Asiago cheese and Applewood smoked bacon. The Ranch sauce is replaced with Honey Mustard sauce and is a great choice for anyone who wants the exceptional taste of the flatbread sandwich with fewer calories and less grams of fat. As always with Wendy’s restaurants, the sandwiches are customizable, allowing patrons to order a flatbread sandwich that suits their taste and dietary needs. Both Flatbread options are affordable and a perfect option when you’re on the go. With their Flatbread sandwiches, Wendy’s has provided consumers with gourmet taste at a fast-food price. The service, as per usual when it comes to Wendy’s restaurants, was friendly and speedy. Both options are filled with nutrients like protein, iron, and fiber providing a healthy menu option that is good for you and tastes great. Wendy’s Flatbread options are a great alternative to the standard options that most restaurant chains provided. Available for a limited time – March 25 until late May – make sure to grab your flatbread and taste the difference!
WENDY'S FLATBREAD GRILLED CHICKEN
$ $ $ $ $
Turf Lounge Fantastic food. Great ambience. Friendly staff. Turf Lounge is a “sure bet” for anyone who appreciates dining and entertainment. e Sabrina Cugliari Do w n t o w n To ro n t o i s home to hundreds of restaurants and bars marketing themselves as the number one “hot spot”. The options can be overwhelming to say the least. With its top of the line menu, atmosphere and entertainment options, Turf Lounge makes the decision of choosing a restaurant easy. Located in the Financial District, Turf Lounge captures your attention from the moment you walk inside. It may look small from the outside, but don’t let that fool you. The vast space of the lounge combined with high ceilings and modern décor make this location a pleasure for the eye as well as the taste buds. Offering seats at tables, booths or the bar, Turf Lounge can accommodate a variety of parties ranging from dinner for two to corporate or private events. Its association with Woodbine Entertainment allows Turf Lounge to provide a unique entertainment experience. Over 60 televisions within the lounge broadcast horse races from the Woodbine track and other tracks around North America, allowing patrons to watch and even wager on the races while dining. The lounge is decorated with pictures of historical events and races, allowing the ambience to remain modern with a taste of history. The combination of
dining and gambling creates an entertainment experience unlike others. After the interior and horse racing capture your eyes and heart, the service and dishes will surely seal the deal. The service was fantastic with both the wait staff and managing team being cordial and welcoming. The food does not come second to entertainment at this lounge. One glance at the mouth watering (and reasonably priced) menu, which includes a variety of meat and seafood dishes, will excite your taste buds like they did ours. We enjoyed the “Special of the Day”. We recommend letting the chef prepare whatever the day’s special is. From our experience, it’s more than clear that their opinion on food is to be trusted. The dining area, separate from the wagering area, is well decorated. The large, plush chairs found at the tables may make it difficult to remain close to the table while resting your back against them. However, the lounge offers comfortable booths as an alternative. The space is welcoming and friendly mirroring the attitude of its employees. The combination of all these factors – food, ambience, and entertainment – is a recipe for success. Turf Lounge offers a memorable dining experience that we at Top Choice won’t be quick to forget.
330 Bay Street in Toronto (Financial District) FOOD
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Intensive Age Refining Treatment A simple rejuvenating formula from PCA Skin that makes skin-care a breeze. e Sabrina Cugliari
BEFORE: fine lines, wrinkling and dehydrated skin around the eyes
AFTER: Intensive Age Refining Treatment, used over a course of 30 days
THE COSMETICS INDUSTRY IS one of the largest in the world. Different companies offer thousands of products that they claim will prevent wrinkles, reduce visibility of lines and enhance your complexion. The problem arises when we ask ourselves the question: do these products actually work? PCA Skin is a company within the industry that promotes their skin care products in this way. They stand out for many reasons, but the most important reason is this: their products work. I was fortunate enough to try their Intensive Age Refining Treatment. Meant to minimize the appearance of lines and wrinkles while hydrating the skin, this cream is filled with safe and effective ingredients that allow for top results. Ingredients in the formula include Retinol (Vitamin A) and Vigna Aconitifolia Seed Extract both meant to promote clear complexions. Other ingredients play a role in hydrating and calming the skin. A full list of ingredients
is available on their website that can be found below. The first thing I noticed was how much I enjoyed the feel of the product. The cream was light and translucent. Only a pea-size amount is required and the bottle seems as though it has been designed to dispense just the right amount. Application was mess- free and easy. Depending on frequency of use, a bottle can last up to as long as 6 months. After a few applications of the product, results become visible. My skin felt tighter and lifted. The formula and its effects produce a gratifying result, leaving you feeling as if you have gone to a cosmetic clinic. PCA Skin’s Intensive Age Refining Treatment gives you spa results in the comfort of your own home, without all the hassle of travel and the benefit of saving hundreds of dollars. The product is a breath of fresh air for those who have been searching unsuccessfully to find results. A full list of
This formulation combines 0.5% pure retinol paired with a host of ingredients to hydrate and soothe, while minimizing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
products including the Intensive Age Refining Treatment are available on their website: pcaskin.com. The only thing you’ll be wondering after trying this product is how to get your hands on more. Visit pcaskin.com/find_pca to get your bottle.
INTENSIVE AGE REFINING TREATMENT™ BY PCA SKIN
pcaskin.com 877.722.7546 QUALITY
$ $ $ $ $ Spring 2013
Dermedix Laser Clinic – Chemical Peel Facial Look no further. Your search for safe and effective skincare treatment is over. From the expert staff to their products and service, Dermedix Laser Clinic’s Chemical Peel Facial will give you the results you want and an experience that won’t be matched by competitors. e Sabrina Cugliari Salons all over the GTA have added cosmetics to their lists of available services. Many salon businesses now offer facials, microdermabrasion and other specilialized services that are normally only available in a clinic environment. With all this competition in the industry, it can be difficult to find a place where you get comfort, safety and results. Dermedix Laser Clinic is renowned for their effective products and treatments and after experiencing one of their Chemical Peel Facials, it’s easy for me to see why. Upon arriving at the location, I was instantly relaxed, thanks in great part to the décor. The interior is all white giving off a relaxing vibe coupled with a soft, clean feeling. Comfort is the order of the day as soon as the threshold is crossed. It’s definitely important for a spa to have a relaxing
environment and this location did not disappoint. The employees are all female with flawless skin that reassure the consumer that Dermedix Laser Clinic Skin is to be trusted. The employees are walking proof that the products and facials are effective and create results. Unlike with other treatments, a questionnaire must be filled out prior to the facial. I filled out this questionnaire in the presence of the spa owner which created an air of trust between us. The staff visibly made efforts to learn about my skin before placing any products on it. This air of professionalism and expertise is often hard to come by. Once you enter the room where you will receive your treatment, you are met with yet another relaxing interior. The facial was one of the most relaxing 15 minutes
I’ve ever experienced. You are able to actually feel the product having a positive effect on your skin. Side effects can include redness and some swelling, however, these results are to be expected and only mean that the treatment is working. The staff continues to impress. Customers don’t need to fret about the temporary redness after receiving the treatment, since makeup is applied after the facial – products that re-nourish the skin and support the facial. Skin colour is taken into consideration and the result is a natural look that matches your skin colour perfectly. Repeat this process a few more times for healthy, glowing skin. Dermedix Laser Clinic’s Chemical Peel Facial was a great experience that I would definitely recommend to anyone who wants glowing results.
DERMEDIX LASER CLINIC
1416 Centre St, Unit 16, Thornhill, On 905.597.2223 dermedix.ca QUALITY
$ $ $ $ $
Styles of Creation From hair to nails to waxing, Styles of Creation is a friendly, professional salon in Markham that will meet all your beauty needs. e Sabrina Cugliari TAKING THE IDEA OF a “one stop shop” and applying it to a salon, Styles of Creation is a salon located in Markham that offers extensive services and products to meet whatever needs you require. From hair styling to make-up application, the salon opened in 2004 and has been striving and succeeding in meeting customer needs ever since. With a refreshing customer satisfaction based approached, Styles of Creation aims to pamper customers from head to toe offering professional services that redefine the word satisfied. Being a first time customer, I immediately felt comfortable as soon as I entered the salon. Greeted by friendly staff members, I felt welcomed and at home, a feeling that you may not always get at other salons. The employees share a good rapport that makes them seem like family rather than
co-workers, creating an easy, laidback environment where customers can relax and treat themselves. The salon was fairly busy, a testament to their professionalism and good work. The owner of the salon, Adriana, was a wonderful host. Extremely friendly and easy to speak to, I felt comfortable opening up to her and trusted that I would be pleased with the results. Often when looking for a new salon or hairstylist, it’s easy to worry about whether they are reliable or if you’ll be happy with the outcome. Adriana, like the rest of the staff at Styles of Creation was easy to get along with and put my mind at ease. While getting my color and blow dry done I was made comfortable and relaxed. I could not be more pleased with the end results. Working together with my hairstylist resulted in a color that was perfect and
Adriana’s blow-dry was amazing. My final hairdo left me happy and confident; two important factors that consumer’s look for when choosing a new salon. Aside from hairstyling, the salon offers waxing for women and men, hair extensions, nail services, make up application and more. Gift certificates are available for the salon and are a great idea for gifts. The salon offers promotions and all their services are affordable and competitively priced. With so many options for a salon, many people find themselves hard pressed to find a place of business that they are truly satisfied with. Styles of Creation’s dedicated, professional and experienced staff make getting any service done easy and carefree. A list of services they provide and more information on the salon can be found on their website: stylesofcreation.com
STYLES OF CREATION
1 Stone Mason Drive in Markham 905.471.4545 QUALITY
$ $ $ $ $ 67
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Maggie the Magician To love your work so much that you can't wait to get to it every morning is truly a blessing. What happens at Fotografia Boutique studio on an hourly basis, is nothing short of fun, inspirational and motivating. HOWEVER MAGGIE STILL, SOMETIMES, likes to take a moment and step
back to be the subject of her own work. “Because I enjoy so much working on both sides of the camera I can relate with what my clients are feeling so no one comes to my Fotografia Boutique and leaves without anything but the best experience ever! It is okay to be camera shy when you arrive, but I guarantee you will want more when you leave”. That love and magic is contagious. Fotografia Boutique, based in Oakville, is owned and operated by the world-class photographer, Maggie Nowakowski. Working with Maggie is so much beyond just having your picture taken. She’s not just a professional photographer, she’s a visionary with a heart of gold. Once you enter her studio, you will be invited into a world of art and beauty. Images beyond your wildest dreams will come true. Fotografia Boutique prides itself on making clients feel like both family and royalty, and giving each client the look and feel of a Hollywood star. All you need to do is show up, trust and listen; you will really love this experience. This is not just you having your picture taken, it’s an experience that will make you fall in love with yourself. Even a professional portrait or photo session can be vulnerable to problems such as bad makeup or hair, the physical signs of stress or nervousness, uncoordinated outfits or appearances, and improper planning.
"It is normal to be camera shy when you arrive, but I guarantee you will want more when you leave." Using her professional skills as a photographer and her talents and training as a fine artist, she transforms regular images into masterful pieces of artwork that reveal her clients as they have always dreamed themselves to be. She is like a skilled surgeon where precision is key and nothing short of perfection is acceptable. And what better gift to give yourself and your loved ones, Maggie says, than a timeless and flawless piece of yourself captured on canvas forever.
1525 Cornwall Road, Unit 1 in Oakville 905-338-FOTO (3686) fotografiaboutique.ca Behind the scenes of the photoshoot for Fotografia Boutique's latest ad campaign.
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Hector Hernandez Soulful, Classical, Theatrical. Cabaiguan, Sancti Spiritus, Cuba firstname.lastname@example.org IAmHectorHernandez.com
PHOTO: MAGGIE NOWAKOWSKI, FOTOGRAFIA BOUTIQUE
Born in Cabaiguan, Sancti Spiritus, Cuba, Hector Hernandez’s passion for art and music started at a very tender age. During his early years, Hector put on performances for family and friends during gatherings and competed in many art contests in his country. Hector’s love for music was especially evidence as a young child who enjoyed listening and singing to the songs of Jose Jose, Camilo Sexto, Nino Bravo, and Vicente Fernandez, The influence of these great artists is an integral part of Hector’s authentic style. Hector transitioned his life from Cuba to Toronto/Canada in 2009. Shortly after Hector’s arrival in Toronto, he performed at a fundraising event for Sick Kids Hospital for the Portuguese community "Fiesta De Las Amigas" where he received rave reviews and since conducted multiple interviews on Portuguese radios and TV shows. Among other appearances, Hector has performed at events such as Pink true fashion at Crystal Beach Ontario, Hard Rock Cafe in Niagara Falls, 6 Degrees night club, Lula Lounge night club. Hector met Omar Martinez (songwriter of international artist including Justin Bieber, Prince Royce) at an audition and Hector was immediately approached by Omar Martinez for an audition tour with Nelly Furtado and at the same time, started the project “Hector Hernandez, March 2011”. Hector was invited by Telemundo 51 to be part of " El Carnaval de la Calle 8" Miami Florida where he performed at TN3 Miami, El Show de Fernando Idalgo, Buenos Dias America, Telemundo 51, Acceso Total at Telemundo 51, where he did major radio promotion. Hector also participated in prestigious Telethons of the world " liege against cancer of Telemundo 51" where he shared stage with the likes, Chino y Nacho, Jeancarlos Canela and many more. He has also performed in events like Top Choice Awards.
Hector is fluent in English, Spanish, and Italian and is currently working on his first album to be released in summer 2013, in collaboration with Omar Martines, Nasri Atweh, Max Roach. In March 2013 Hector signed a contract with Tricon Films for a pilot for a TV show. The show will profile his emergence and explore the challenges a young artist faces as his career continues to evolve. Soulful, classic, and theatrical, Hector is captivating and his music is diverse with his wide range of influences as his continues to challenge himself musically. This soulful artist is warm and approachable, charismatic and sincere.
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