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June 2012

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storm below Legalizing basement dwellings

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FACETIME WITH REPTILES Kids can get up close with reptiles in zoo’s new educational area

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WORKING OUR WAY DOWN

The legalization of basement apartments could help Vaughan grow but also sparks opposition

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One man is helping make the sport the number choice of many local young people

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admit the first time I saw Vaughan up close I was appalled. I’d lived in a small town (Stratford, Ont.), a big city (Vancouver) and a genuine megalopolis (Toronto), but this was different all over again. Vaughan was large in area and growing fast, but it was really a collection of small centres. With lots of space between. Space you needed a vehicle to cross — just to shop or go to school or see a movie. The city seemed to define the phrase “urban spawl.� Most older metropolises in recent decades have identified sprawl as a blight. Endless spreading of residential and commercial facilities — as in most modern suburban neighbourhoods — jacks up servicing costs, defeats economies of scale, and breaks down social cohesion. The solution from city planners has been intensification. Meanwhile, as Vaughan has boomed, this unusual city has continued growing by spreading out from its various centres, adding subdivisions and neighbourhoods. In effect, we’ve been practitioners of localized urban sprawl and, simultaneously, intensification on a city-wide basis. I was reminded of this by Omar

Eric McMillan, Editor-in-chief Mosleh’s story on basement apartments in this isue. Secondary suites are seen as a way to intensify residential areas in Vaughan. Still, the municipality has lots of undeveloped space for future filling in. It’s not as though we have nowhere left to build but up, as in many another town or city. But until someday we reach that point, basement units are an easy way of building our communities with a minimum of fuss. My neighbours at my former addresses would be jealous to learn how painless our intensification is here in Vaughan.

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OUR MAN IN ITALY

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JUNE 2012 VAUGHAN ToDAY 


Room at the bottom

 VAUGHAN ToDAY JUNE 2012

Legalizing basement apartments can help Vaughan develop affordable housing— but also brings opposition By Omar Mosleh

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ollowing years of inaction, the City of Vaughan is taking steps to legalize basement apartments once and for all. Vaughan City Council has acknowledged the necessity of legalizing basement apartments, also known as secondary suites, since at least 2010. After all, its chief magistrate used to live in one. “My sensitivity doesn’t only come from 22 years of political experience, but also from my own personal experience of having lived in a basement apartment,” said Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua, who grew up in a basement apartment in North Toronto. “It’s not something I’ve read in a textbook — it’s an issue I’ve actually lived through,” he added. Vaughan, where growth has slowed in recent years, is currently facing a lack of affordable housing. The mayor says there are primarily two reasons to legalize basement apartments: a social responsibility, as well as an economic imperative. “People need to be provided opportunities to live somewhere,” he said. “Workers will not be able to just waltz into Vaughan and buy a home for $500,000 or $600,000.” He believes that in order for Vaughan to attract the labour force it needs to grow, more affordable housing is a must. “Any city that wants to take care of its economic needs, needs to look at alternative housing measures,” Bevilacqua said. “And secondary suites are very much part of that menu of opportunities that we have.” While legalization has been debated for years, a provincial bill that came into effect in January effectively gives Vaughan no choice. Bill 140, the Strong Communities through Affordable Housing Act, requires all Ontario municipalities to “establish official plan policies and zoning bylaw provisions allowing second units in single, semi and row houses, as well as in accessory structures”. The city will be receiving a report in June on a task force on secondary suites. The task force will consider issues such as regulating secondary suites for safety and fire standards and street parking. Proponents of basement apartments, such as New Hope United Church Rev. Jim Keenan, say secondary suites help create affordable housing without having to build high-rise buildings. “It helps move towards the intensification without changing the architecture and ambiance of the neighbourhood,” he said. Basement apartments also allow seniors to live in their homes longer by adding a supplementary income, he pointed out. But secondary suites are not without opposition. Keenan acknowledges the stigma of the “renter” may create apprehensions among older generations. He has heard people complain renters don’t mow their lawns or take out their garbage and thereby decrease property values. “It’s a misperceived class issue,” he said. “From not taking the garbage out or bringing the property values down.... Sometimes there’s a misconception.”


OMAR MOSLEH/VAUGHAN TODAY

THE STIGMA sometimes attached to renters is based on a misperception, says Jim Keenan who advocates basement apartments, which he says need not affect a neighbourhood’s ambience.

RE/MAX Premier sales representative Claire Franceschetti said tenants in secondary suites can also create congestion and parking problems. “Parking can be an issue, and then we get into issues where nice subdivisions will start seeing a trend towards paving over front lawns,” she said. “And aesthetically, the neighbourhood starts to get congested and suffers in terms of its overall appearance.” Another concern is that fire and safety standards, such as a secondary entrance, are not always up to par. However, if basement apartments were regulated in Vaughan, this could be addressed. “We have to appreciate now that these basement apartments already exist,” Bevilacqua said. “They’re not legalized, so what happens is you’re endangering people’s lives ... and if one person were to die because we didn’t have the right policies in place, it would be a real tragic event

in our city.” Basement apartments currently subsist unchecked in Vaughan. Royal LePage sales representative Lou Fabbro said a recent listing for a secondary suite with rent higher than $900 a month was snatched up quickly, with five offers. “The demand is high,” he said. Vaughan is considering hiring a consultant to establish a best practices report based on other municipality’s implementation of secondary suites. Keenan says it’s about time. “I think as the city moves forward on this, rather than delaying, which is what they’ve been doing, they’ve got to get the public dialogue going right away,” he said. The Vaughan Social Action Council will be holding a forum on the issue in July. The mayor said he expects to make progress on basement apartments by the fall and hopes to deal with it in its entirety by the end of council’s term.

From the bottom to the top

The mayor’s personal experience of basement living

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or Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua, living in a basement apartment as a child was his first step toward being a political leader. “Sometimes we forget that a physical space, a place to relate to, a point of reference, is really important to deal with the challenges of the human condition,” recalled Bevilacqua, who spent his formative years in a small Toronto basement apartment near St. Clair and Boon avenues. “I remember the very first day when I walked into the home and went downstairs, how happy I was,” he added. He said despite sharing a bedroom with his siblings, with little space, he was grateful for a place to stay. “In many ways, I viewed living in a basement as a very hopeful experience,” he said. “We always had the ambition of owning our own home.”

Bevilacqua’s family was eventually able to realize their ambition. It was the stability that provided Bevilacqua the opportunity to attend school, achieve an education and enter politics. “In my personal life, I went from a basement apartment to the House of Commons,” Bevilacqua said. “And the journey, ironically enough, is deeply rooted in my experience in a basement apartment.... The humility, the challenges, the incredible capacity to accept certain conditions can give you a lot of character and strength in your personality,” he added. “And that propelled me to sit in federal cabinet, to become mayor of a city.” If that wasn’t enough, the mayor said, coming from humble roots also furthers his gratefulness for what he has achieved in life. “There’s a greater appreciation, when you finally move out of the basement apartment, for everything you do thereafter,” he said. — Omar Mosleh

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 VAUGHAN ToDAY JUNE 2012

Hoops revolution One man is making basketball kids’ game of choice By Mathieu Yuill

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ids are running all over the place. It’s a Saturday morning at Maple High School and in the gym about 100 boys aged six through ten are going through basketball drills and playing games. It’s organized but it’s chaos. Lionel Howell, an inside sales person by day, walks across the courts waving at parents, shouting out instructions to kids and giving advice to the high school and university-age coaches. He does this without missing a stride — literally. He’s doing all this while stepping around errant basketballs and kids that flock to him like characters at Wonderland. Howell started the Vaughan Basketball Association (VBA) eight years ago with a simple goal: to bring the sport of basketball north of Steeles Avenue. “A friend of mine and I started it after having what was the Vaughan Basketball League, which was just

an organization for kids to play basketball,” he says. “ My son used to watch me play in men’s leagues. Like every other kid in Vaughan he played soccer but he was the kid in the corner picking daisies.” His son started telling him he wanted to play basketball, Howell says. Vaughan has a plethora of hockey and soccer leagues but eight years ago only a handful of outlets for kids interested in basketball existed. Howell says this is the first generation of kids to have grown up always having a professional NBA team in the area, so the interest is here and growing the sport at a grassroots level via kids playing the sport in organized leagues is logical. But after sitting with Howell, it’s easy to see the VBA is more than just a place for kids to act out their Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant fantasies on the court. It’s actually much bigger than that.

An 8-year-old boy walks up to Howell to say hello. Earlier in the month Howell had asked his parents if he wanted to move up to the 9- and 10-year-old bracket because he clearly had the highest skill level for his age. He did but he went from being the big fish in a small pond to being one of the smallest players on the court. His parents were worried he wasn’t having a good time in the older age group. As the boy walks over, Howell puts out his arm and the boy snuggles in. “Are you having a good time in the new age group?” Howell asks. The boys nods and says he is. Howell asks him if he’s sure. It looks like he isn’t having as much fun and maybe he’d like to go back to his own age group. The boy protests. The games in the older age group are longer and he gets to play more — he’s having a great time. The boy’s mother and father


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YOUTH LEADER: Lionel Howell has been fostering interest in basketball at the grassroots level — with the community’s young people. The Vaughan Basketball Association he started eight years ago now has 500 kids at different age levels playing in local gyms, and his goals are even more ambitious.

break out wide toothy grins. They hadn’t been able to get such an open and honest response from their son. Howell was able to have a conversation with the boy the parents couldn’t. It’s clear a weight of anxiety has been lifted from their shoulders. Everyone wants their children to have fun playing sports but sometimes it seems impossible to help facilitate that. Howell says he’s able to connect with the kids in the VBA differently than how parents can. “I can tell them things about studying in school, staying healthy and being a good person that their parents have told them but they haven’t listened,� he says. “But as their coach, they listen to me. It’s a big responsibility.� Every kid who participates in the VBA gets a trophy at the end of the year. Howell says when he was a young man playing soccer in Hamilton his team earned a playoff trophy and he cherished it. It sat on his shelf and he looked at every day. “Everyone gets equal playing time here — the slowest kid in the gym, he

gets a turn to be point guard and take the ball up,� he says. “It is not about winning, it is about the kids having a fun, positive experience.� For those who yearn for more competition there is a rep team where skill development is emphasized at a higher level and success in tournaments and leagues are the goal. Eight years ago the VBA had 50 kids in one gym. Now there are almost 500 across two gyms and in more age groups. In another eight years Howell hopes the VBA will have helped build the sport in Vaughan and continues to be a financially accessible sport. A few more families walk by and each one flashes Howell a big smile and waves. He may not realize it but a lot of the success is a testament to how hard he’s worked to grow the game from a place of inclusion instead of a place of competition. If he keeps up the same attitude there’s no reason basketball couldn’t surpass the participation rates of some of the other traditional sports in much less than eight years.

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It’s not your father’s sports Alternative athletics By Ann Ruppenstein

ANN RUPPENSTEIN/VAUGHAN TODAY

WIZARDS: Adam Becker, right, plays his 29 pinball machines with other members of the GTA-based league of pinball players and collectors.

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Set in an apocalyptic time with swords and sorcery, Epoch is a live action role-playing club founded in 1996. Although the majority of its members come from Vaughan, Toronto, Hamilton and Burlington, some travel from as far as Nashville, Tennessee to take part in eight annual events. Epoch’s president Patrick Klatskin says he enjoys getting away from the city and out of his computer chair to be a part of the weekend long games, which require lots of planning and character development. “It’s that suspension of disbelief,” he says. “Not just reading or talking about a role but actually taking on that fantasy role where I now play a character that can do magic, that can play with alchemy, that can do some of those things that we imagined as children but actually do it hands on in game.” Set in a fictional frontier town, members dress up in costumes as warriors, bandits, mages, alchemists and mystics while they navigate through a plot created by an artistic director. In addition to participating members, people are also cast as evil villains and monsters for players to combat and throw spells

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against. â&#x20AC;&#x153;You can play a plethora of different characters from a rodent of unusual size to a powerful sorcerer thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s out to destroy the town,â&#x20AC;? says Klatskin. â&#x20AC;&#x153;For summer events I think weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve gotten up to 70, 80, last year for players, that doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t include the people casting.â&#x20AC;? Above all else, he says his goal for the non-profit organization is for people to have fun. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The whole point of the game or hobby is to come out and have fun,â&#x20AC;? he says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;To set aside your worries or your cares and just have a blast.â&#x20AC;? Adam Becker Pinball When Adam Becker joined a pinball league eight years ago, members wanting to host event nights were required to own four pinball machines. He now owns 29. Since 1995, the league has been holding weekly meetings at various pinball machine collectorsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; homes throughout Toronto, Vaughan and Keswick. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We play year round,â&#x20AC;? says Becker. â&#x20AC;&#x153;What I like to say is if itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a Monday night and you want to play pinball, we will be somewhere.â&#x20AC;? Becker, who also plays professionally and is currently ranked third in the country and 49th in the world, says the league has grown from an average of 10 players a night to between 20 and 30. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We cater to everyone,â&#x20AC;? he says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re good for the casual player, people who just want to come out and be social. We also cater to the really competitive player, people like me who are trying to compete at an upper level and be really good.â&#x20AC;? Serving as the scorekeeper, he also keeps tracks of the scores over their 15-week season, which culminates with playoffs and a double-elimination tournament with trophies and prizes.

Although Becker doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t personally have any pre-game rituals, he says players often exhibit quirky traits. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Some people stand really funny, some people jump all around, some people swear and yell,â&#x20AC;? he says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;You meet all sorts of strange and fun people.â&#x20AC;? Lorne Kurtz Dodgeball Although itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s often thought of as an elementary school sport, Lorne Kurtz runs a dodgeball league aimed at an older crowd. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Dodgeball I feel sells itself,â&#x20AC;? says Kurtz. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a sport that 99 percent of Canadians have played throughout their school life. So just to get back into it now as an adult, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a lot of fun.â&#x20AC;? Combining his background playing on an intramural squad while attending university with his brotherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s experience launching a local inline hockey league, they started a dodgeball league in 2005. Since 2007, when the league shifted to players 16 and above, it has continued to grow from 12 to 50 teams a season. â&#x20AC;&#x153;From an administrative point of view, to take such a social, joke sport â&#x20AC;&#x201D; a sport that we played back in elementary school â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and to turn it into an actual grassroots, social, intramural sport for the city of Toronto and getting all of these people out, that is definitely a highlight,â&#x20AC;? says Kurtz, who continues to play twice a week with his high school friends. Although the matches are inside throughout the year, the summer league, which kicks off in July, is played outdoors in the sand in Toronto. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We have all divisions from beginners, people who have never played before to intermediate, those who have played a little and are just kind of honing their skills and weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve got a competitive division,â&#x20AC;? he says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I love to play and one of the best things I would say about it is itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s actually a physical, fullbody workout.â&#x20AC;?

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ANN RUPPENSTEIN/VAUGHAN TODAY

WATCH OUT: Play ball with Lorne Kurtz and you wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want to catch the ball from him but avoid it. His dodge ball league is aimed at adult participants.

61 NewBridge ave, riChmoNd hill $699,888 Stunning Home In The Heart Of Oak Ridgeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s. Beautiful Open Concept Home, Grand Entrance Foyer With Cathedral Ceilings, 9Ft Ceiling On Main Floor, Parquet Flooring Throughout. Professionally Landscaped Patio And Maintenance Free Back Yard Located On Premium Lot. Oak Staircase, Gas Fireplace And Maple Cupboards. Large Master Bedroom With Soaker Tub And Separate Shower, All Bedrooms Have Ensuite. Close To Public Transit And All Amenities. Open House June 9, 2012, 1pm to 4pm. 1019 doNNelly st, miltoN $589,888 Columbia Model 2560 Sq Ft. Beautiful Home Located On A Quiet Crescent, Large Open Concept Main Level, Kitchen Overlooks Family Room With Ceramic Floor, Walk Out Over Looking Green Space. Master With Ensuite Loaded With Upgrades, New Hardwood Floor, Stone Back Splash, 2nd Floor Laundry.

  

                   ! "#$%&$  ' ((($$ JUNE 2012 VAUGHAN ToDAY 


Our scaly friends Kids get up close with reptiles at zoo’s educational section

PHOTOS FRANCIS CRESCIA/VAUGHAN TODAY

Since our photographer visited Reptilia the previous time, the zoo on Rutherford Road has added an educational area where kids can sit and learn about the creatures. It has also added a new section for native species like the Mississauga rattle snake, spotted turtle and rat snake — all local animals. ABOVE, facility manager Lee Parker and fearless 3-year-old Lily Ann Casgree meet 10-year-old Darwin, an 18-foot Burmese python. AT RIGHT, Cindel Csepreghi pats Larry the Iguana, held by zoo keeper Nicole Filion.

ter s i g Re ow N

For the camp nearest you, please call

905-946-1113

Exciting field trips twice weekly to places like Ontario Place, Science Centre, Toronto Zoo, African Lion Safari, Kettleby Valley Camp. Swimming・Sports・Creative Arts・Drama・Cooking Extended Hours Monday to Friday from 7am to 6pm Ages 6-12 years・Family Discounts

Want to know more about Upper Canada? Visit us on the web:

www.uppercanadachildcare.com

F

10 VAUGHAN ToDAY JUNE 2012


2012 Equinox looking hot By Mathieu Yuill

W

hen the Equinox was introduced in 2004, I wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t much impressed. I found the seating uncomfortable and the engine lackluster. While the sizing was right for a compact SUV to be used in the city, the Saturn Vue was just a touch shorter and looked a lot better, making it the preferred option. (Since it was based on the same platform the two drove almost identical.) The first-generation styling also left a lot to be desired. Even in 2004 the simple and boxy shell looked dated. However, in 2009 the Equinox got not only a pair of new engines to choose from, but an updated look that features a nice chunky grille, an attractive belt and roofline and an updated interior. GMâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s addition of the simple, yet effective, centre stack, which includes HVAC and audio controls and a place for the 18-centemetre touch screen on some models, was a big step forward. The 2012 model features a plethora of both mechanical and comfort upgrades but most significant is the rear-vision camera standard on all but the base model. To be fair, the base LS starts at $26,445

POWER LASER REHAB CENTER

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ON THE MARKET: The 2012 Chevy Equinox is a much-improved vehicle, breaking from its first edition back in 2004. Now, it really has an edge, especially with its competitve pricing in the mid to high 20,000s.

and the 1LT is $29,225 but in the highly competitive segment of compact SUVs, this gives the Equinox a real leg up. All models from the 1LT and up also get a 18-centemetre colour touch screen that made selecting different audio a breeze and getting information about who was calling via a Bluetooth enabled phone a snap. While the 18-centemetre screen clearly isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t the same as having that information on a heads-up display, I found it very easy to quickly glance at without having to search all over the console for the right information.

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Rear legroom in the Equinox is also something worthy of writing home about. Quite often even SUVs that appear to have generous amounts of room in the back are uncomfortable or feel too small. The previous generation Ford Escape and RAV-4 suffered from this as my wife and I, who are both on the tall side, tried to get comfortable in the back of each of these vehicles for trips to the cottage. The Equinox has 20 centimetres of movement both forwards and back making for best-in-class legroom. A title other manufacturers should seek to challenge.

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JUNE 2012 VAUGHAN ToDAY 11

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Automotive

In time for summer


Arts&Entertainment

Ages: 1.5 years - 12 years

LET YOUR TALENT BE HEARD! Visit us online at or scan our QR code for more details on our competition.

SENIORSTAR.ca

COMPETITION: JUNE 12THspm RICHMOND HILL CENTRE FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS FREE ADMISSION & REFRESHMENTS

Drop by or call Sara or Mary today to RSVP for your FREE Tickets to attend!

Heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s got our hearts

600 Valley Vista Dr. Vaughan, ON

905-417-8900

Visit us online at chartwellreit.ca PHOTOS COURTESY ROGERS MEDIA TV

MOVED: Vaughan student Shale Wagman is overcome when he graduates from a semifinal round on Canadaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Got Talent.

12 VAUGHAN ToDAY JUNE 2012


12-year-old won the popular vote on Canada’s Got Talent seminfinals By Omar Mosleh

I

GOING FOR IT: He wasn’t nervous performing for thousands nationwide, Wagman says. The young dancer trains 25–30 hours per week.

at Vlad’s Dance Company in Richmond Hill but, after he auditioned, the instructor looked at his mother and said, “No recreation for him. I want him in competitive.” He hasn’t looked back since. “I never thought it would go this far, but from when I was 6 on, I knew this is what I wanted to do,” Wagman said. The Claude Watson School For the Arts student, who counts ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov among his inspirations, trains for 25–30 hours a week in dance. When he’s not dancing or training, he enjoys many of the same activities as any 12-year-old: rollercoasters, summer camp, sailing and waterskiing. He also recently took up the violin. He said despite not winning Canada’s Got Talent, he was thrilled to take part in the competition because he sees it as the start to his career in a sense. “I feel really good about it, I felt like I could get exposure for the future, because I want to become a professional dancer,” he said.

While he may be a star at school, Wagman receives no special treatment at home. His two teenage brothers help keep him grounded. “I have three boys, and they’re all very special, but I knew (Shale) had a special gift,” Wagman’s mom Heather said. “They’re absolutely supportive of each other.” For her, the best part was watching her son make the crowd marvel on live television. “It’s an absolutely incredible feeling to watch him, there’s no words,” she said. “I literally feel the energy radiating from him.” So what’s it like for Wagman when he performs for thousands of people nationwide? “I wasn’t nervous at all.... Whatever happens happens,” he says casually. “I wish I was like that,” his mother interjects. And while she doesn’t share her son’s confidence, she’s thrilled it’s taken him as far as it has. “We’re absolutely thrilled and so proud of him,” she said. “The fact that he’s doing what he loves ... how many people can say they know what they want to do when they’re 6?”

JUNE 2012 VAUGHAN ToDAY 13

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t turns out Vaughan’s got talent. That’s certainly true for Canada’s Got Talent finalist Shale Wagman, who managed to dance his way to the final round in the popular talent show. The 12-year-old ballet dancer from the Bathurst and Centre area of Thornhill received the highest number of votes in week three of the semifinals. His performance resonated so profoundly with the audience that judge and Canadian singer Measha Brueggergosman actually broke out into tears after his dance to Coldplay’s The Scientist. “I don’t have children, Shale, but I would take you home,” she divulged in between sobs. The solo dancer got a standing ovation from the 400-strong crowd and the judges. For Wagman, that moment may have been worth entering the contest even though he didn’t win. “It feels really good that I got the most votes,” Wagman said. “It just shows that I put my heart, my soul and all my life into it.” Wagman initially got into dancing when a swimming instructor encouraged him to try it. “He told me I had the perfect body for dance, so he convinced me,” Wagman says as his mom drives him home from a doctor’s appointment. He applied to a recreational swimming program


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14 VAUGHAN ToDAY JUNE 2012


Travel

Ever been? A traveller finds many reasons to be feelin’ fine in Fredericton By Liz Campbell

t’s been named one of the top 10 cities in which to live in Canada, but Fredericton, New Brunswick should also be named one of the top 10 to visit. And I have 10 reasons why. Number one is an eco-friendly network of 85 kilometres of walking and cycling paths extending along the St. John and Nashwaak Rivers. I’m walking along the South Riverfront Trail and the St. John River is as still as a millpond, the reflected clouds creating an otherworldly atmosphere. I might be only 2 km from the centre of town, but the waterside peace is broken only by the occasional cyclist who pedals swiftly past. Half of me wishes I’d brought my bicycle, but the other half recognizes that my experience here would be very different at 15 km per hour. What a joy to be in a city where peace is so easily accessible. The trail winds along the river, bringing me to reason two: the Historic Garrison District, a National Historic Site on the waterfront edge of downtown Fredericton. Here, British troops were garrisoned from 1784 until 1869. On the sward where British troops once exercised, there’s a twice-daily changing of the guard during the summer months. The marching columns of scarlet coats and smart white helmets, led by a kilted piper and drummer, make an impressive pageant. And despite their youth, the guards here stand as statue still as those at Buckingham Palace. I can’t resist trying an old trick.

Your Dr Fleas istop One S ay Shop! e Fath r’s D

! g For Dad Everythin , Tools, Clothing ctronics, h S oes, Ele More! Plus Much

“Are you supposed to stand still and say nothing at all?” I ask one guard. It works. “Yes, ma’am,” he responds, then blushes as he realizes his mistake. It was mean of me. While the military buildings in the Garrison District still remain, today their lower levels house local artisans. Inside the cool stone arches, pottery, needlecraft, jewellery and photography make tempting displays that I’m finding it hard to resist. And so, here is reason three. A few steps away, downtown Fredericton repays an hour’s browsing with some wonderful and even unusual shops; my favourite rejoices in the name, The Geek Chic Boutique. It’s got to be reason four. Sheldon Cooper and Captain America bobble head dolls share shelf space with memorabilia from Star Wars, Dr. Who, and many more. What’s scary is that I find myself tempted by a T-shirt emblazoned with the word “Bazinga!” And if you understand that, be very afraid! It’s time to reprogram my brain with a different kind of culture, so I head for the Beaverbook Art Gallery. My reason five for visiting Fredericton is just a five minute walk away. Actually, nothing is far away in this little city. Presented in 1958 by Lord Beaverbrook, a.k.a. press baron, Max Aitken who spent his childhood in Fredericton, this gallery includes famous works by world-renowned artists such as Gainsborough, Turner, Krieghoff, Constable and Reynolds. In the front hall hangs Salvador JAZZ Page 23

liz campbell/vaughan today

GET A GOOD LOOK: The best view of Salvador Dali’s Santiago el Grande is actually from your back and on the floor, as these people have discovered.

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HAPPY FATHERS DAY! JUNE 2012 VAUGHAN ToDAY 15

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I


Best of Vaughan 2nd annual

VaughanToday.ca

www.VaughanToday.ca/BestofVaughan

SILVER AWARD

2 0 12

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OF VAUGH

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O F VAU GH

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BRONZE AWARD

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AN

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OF VAUGH

AN

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Vote today at:

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Who do you think are the Best of Vaughan?

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CATEGORIES FOR THE HOME

SHOPPING

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Furniture Store General Contracting Appliance/Audiovisual Store Flooring/Tile/Carpeting Doors/Windows Heating/Air Conditioning Bathroom/Kitchen Renovation Blinds/Curtains Landscaping Lighting Store Paint/Wallpaper Plumbing Electrician Roofing

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Caterer Vet Clinic Dry Cleaners Funeral Home Hair Salon/Barber Shop Retirement Centre Law Firm Financial Planner Travel Agency

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Dealers (new and used) Repair-Mechanical Repair- Body work (Detailing & Aesthetic) Roadside Assistance Tire Service Auto Glass Accessories (alarm & sound systems)

Nominations begin May 18, 2012 and end August 31, 2012. All entries become the property of Multicom Media Services Limited, and may be reproduced in any Multicom Media Services publications.

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16 VAUGHAN ToDAY JUNE 2012


CoolStuff

Keep cool

Start Saving Today

Summer’s near, so let these help you

with up to

40

By Liz Campbell

%

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hether you’re headed to the beach, the golf course or the cottage, here’s some hot summer stuff to add a little cool to your summer.

For serious golfers only: GolfBuddy World will help you get a serious edge on your game. An easy-to-navigate GPS rangefinder with a high resolution, colour touch screen, it has the capacity to hold 40,000 courses in its internal memory, and comes preloaded with more than 35,000 courses worldwide. Anti-glare technology allows the image to remain completely visible at all times, even in bright sunlight. And there are no subscription fees. You can score for up to four players and track your stats. It’s $299 at golf pro shops or online at www.golfbuddyglobal.com.

Tired of paying too much insurance? St. Andrews Direct Insurance is a full-service, one-stop brokerage offering you the best discounts from Canada’s leading insurers. With a wide variety of products to choose from, we offer practical and comprehensive solutions for insurance needs. If you have questions about your home, auto, life or commercial insurance call us now at 905-265-2700 or toll free at 1-888-777-0575.

personal

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discounts

www.standrewsdirect.ca

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Commercial

Summer means trips to the beach. And trips to the beach mean sand. Everyone ends up covered in it, and let’s face it, washing in the water just adds another layer as you try to dry off with a sandy towel. Sand-Off is an all-natural, powder-filled mitt that breaks the bond between skin and sand. Gently rub and the sand is gone. Use this dry body wash at the beach, in the park or even in your own backyard. It’s safe for use on infants, toddlers and the Sand-Off mitt is good for 30 to 40 uses. That’s a lot of trips to the beach. Priced at $7.99 at www.sandoff.com. Sea Squirts look cool and keep kids safe by the water. These life jackets and swim assist vests are created to look like different types of fish and sea mammals. They include a flexible fin on the back of each vest that’s strong enough to be grabbed, to pluck a little one out of the water in an emergency situation. And they come in three different sizes with varying armhole sizes, so the buoyancy of the life jacket is carried under the child’s arms instead of uncomfortably between the legs. The buoyancy can be changed by removing one of three flotation panels. Sea Squirts come in several creative choices including: Clownfish, Great White Shark, Pink Dolphin, Blue Dolphin, and Killa Whale. All are Coast Guard certified as a Type III Personal Flotation Device, ski vest or wake-boarding vest. Prices range from $49.95 for swim assist jackets to $69.95 for Personal Flotation Devices, though they’re cheaper at www.amazon.com. You can also buy them at the company website: www.opacove.com. JUNE 2012 VAUGHAN ToDAY 17


Home&Garden

Gardening with How to help your kids plant memories By Mary Fran McQuade

O

ne of my earliest outdoor memories is the sky-blue morning glories that twined up the old wire fence around our home. I was probably three or four years old. My father’s job often took us to California in the spring, and there I learned to love the scent of dwarf myrtle (Myrtus communis) — even though I didn’t know what it was at the time. When I was a little older, I marvelled at my dad’s lovingly tended roses and played with the scent-leafed geraniums my mom grew. I even had my own little patch of colourful, old-fashioned balsam, whose fat seed pods exploded with a satisfying “pop” when you touched them. And then there was the time a little friend and I planted six or so corn seeds in a shallow coffee can. She must have lost interest, because the tiny plants ended up along the fence at our house, where they grew tall and sprouted fat, tender ears. (My dad helped me a bit, there.) Gardening with kids can be magic. Little eyes see the world differently than we do. Small fingers are sometimes awkward, but their tender skin is way more sensitive to the texture of flowers and leaves. Add colour and taste — and mom and dad’s company — and the garden becomes, well, magic. Right now is a fine time to start a garden with your kids. It doesn’t have to be large or fancy. In fact, it’s more fun if it’s not. The one thing it should be is a welcoming place.

18 VAUGHAN ToDAY JUNE 2012


little ones Tips for a child-friendly garden Number one on the list is: No poisons. Weed and bug sprays, even “natural” ones, could be unsafe for small humans. Pick weeds by hand; maybe offer a bounty of a nickel for every one they pull. The same goes for bugs. (Drop creepy-crawlies in salted water to kill.) • No poisonous plants, either. Do your homework. There’s a ton of websites that list poisonous plants. • Let the garden be theirs. You’re the guide; they’re the owners. Help them decide what to plant (for example, yes to tomatoes, no to watermelons). Be sure to explain why some of their choices won’t work out. • Guide, rather than supervise. Show them how to plant a seed or starter plant. Keep it simple by sticking with large seeds (green beans and sunflowers, for example) and sturdy plants (marigolds and geraniums are toughies). • Make gardening fun, not work. Tell stories about the plants you grow, like the princess and the pea. Which plants do they think the fairies prefer? Teach them that seedlings or tiny started plants are babies that need water and attention to help them grow up. • Learn to tolerate dirt. Even grown-ups have grubby gardening clothes they set aside for yard work. Please pick the flowers Bright, colourful flowers draw kids like

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Right on Grains Bistro leaves nothing to be desired Liz Campbell/Vaughan Today

Liz Campbell

T

he sign on the door of Grains Bistro says, “Your Neighbourhood Bistro” and proclaims, “Great beer lives here”. All this might leave one with the impression the menu consists of pub grub. Nothing could be further from the truth. This spot is a hidden gem. The weather is cooperating tonight so we sit on the patio to enjoy the last warm rays of the setting sun and I order the drink special of the night — sangria ($5). My guest’s beer special of the night is Red Stripe, a Jamaican brew ($4). What could be more perfect. They don’t tell you on the menu — big mistake — but they buy local produce as well as grain, fed, free run and antibiotic free poultry. (It’s on their website.) The menu has a diverse and interesting blend of dishes including some fascinating burger options. I seriously consider the Aussie burger — grilled pineapple, roasted golden beets, BBQ sauce and aged cheddar ($15). And the lobster risotto ($24) calls loudly to my taste buds. But I eschew these for a very different choice. To start, I spot a salad of golden heirloom beets and fresh buffalo mozzarella with arugula ($13). The beets are a little salty but the generous portion of fresh mozzarella balances this. The dressing has a hint of honey to cut the tang of young arugula. I’m already impressed with the chef. My guest chooses the Bistro house salad ($10). A large serving of organic greens and tomato wedges is colourfully topped with julienned heirloom carrots and beets, cranberries and sunflower seeds. The balsamic dressing has been applied with a welcome light touch. It’s refreshing, and my guest eats every morsel. His dinner of Moroccan lamb shank is fall-off-the-bone tender and the sauce

IMPRESSIVE SALAD: Heirloom beets and buffalo mozzarella make a tangy, sweet start to dinner at Grains Bistro.

has an interesting flavour. I’m not sure what the Moroccan influence is, but it’s delicious. It comes with smashed redskin potatoes, seasonal asparagus spears and an heirloom carrot half ($24). I have the same carrot and asparagus spears on my plate and herein lies one of my personal complaints. Why do so many chefs overcook asparagus? Despite a light touch with other vegetables, (the heirloom carrot is still firm and flavourful), the asparagus spears, though still bright green, are a little too soft. My organic Irish sea trout ($21) is pan seared. It’s supposed to come with red-skin potatoes but mine sits on a bed of white and wild rice. The nuttiness of the wild rice is, to my mind, a better match). And methinks the chef has forgotten the white wine butter sauce. Actually, the fish is delicious, though I think the fish could do with a little lift and the sauce might have been a nice finishing touch. Instead, I use the lemon wedge liberally. The only dessert made in-house is panacotta — orange or watermelon with strawberry. On the recommendation of the waitress, we opt for the latter. It comes garnished with strawberry halves and a small bunch of grapes ($7). Watermelon is a somewhat elusive flavour but it comes through loud and clear, the strawberry coulis adding another, very different note. It’s a very refreshing, light finish to a fairly heavy meal. And, says my guest, the coffee is very good. Despite my mild objections, I’d say run, don’t walk, to this spot. There’s a good selection of brews and wines. The wait staff is affable and helpful. And the food hits so many buttons: local, freshly prepared with a creative hand, and reasonably priced. And after all, what more can you desire? Grains Bistro, 8707 Dufferin St., Vaughan, 905-907-9000, www.gbistro. ca.

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What’s that? It’s asparagus — and you could use some liz campbell/vaughan today

By Liz Campbell

E

gyptians valued it — it can be seen as an offering on a 3000-year-old frieze. The Greeks, Romans and Syrians have all used it for centuries, both as a vegetable and a medicine. Louis XIV of France had greenhouses built especially to grow it. And in Canada today, the appearance of the first tender spears of asparagus in the market is a sure sign of spring. Winter asparagus that travels thousands of miles from South America doesn’t begin to compare to that grown locally. Because they are fresh and recently harvested, they are still packed with goodness. Asparagus is really good for you. It contains two nutrients that prevent disease and promote a healthy body: folacin and glutathione. And it’s a good source of protein and B vitamins. Most importantly, asparagus is delicious. One pound of fresh asparagus will make four to five servings. Look for bright green stalks with tightly closed, compact tips. Some local varieties may

be slightly purple in colour. The spears may be thick or slender but the stalks should be straight, firm, and about six to eight inches in length. Try to select spears that are all the same thickness so they cook evenly. The white butt of the stalk is too tough to eat. On the other hand, when you cut these off the stems, use them to flavour stock and soup. When you get them home, wrap the bottom of the stalks in a damp paper towel. Put them in a plastic bag and refrigerate. Use within two days and, before using, always wash spears well to remove any sand in the heads, then pat them dry. Roasted Asparagus Asparagus has traditionally been steamed but I’m a fan of roasted asparagus; the bonus with these is that you don’t even need butter. Use fat spears for roasting. Arrange them in a single layer in a large shallow baking dish or

AND GOOD FOR YOU, TOO: An asparagus frittata, left, or plain old roasted asparagus are both great ways to enjoy this health nut of a vegetable.

rimmed cookie sheet. Drizzle with 1 to 2 tbsp. olive oil, and sprinkle with large grained sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Bake at 500F (260C) for 8 to 10 minutes, or until tender but still slightly firm. They will brown slightly. Serve immediately. Asparagus Frittata Frittatas are the easy way to make an omelette — no flipping required. This one features lovely fresh asparagus paired with red peppers and tangy cheese. This recipe usually calls for chevre but I like to use Monforte Belle, a soft sheep’s milk cheese. 1 tbsp (15 mL) butter 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil 2 green onions, finely chopped 2 cups (500 mL) asparagus spears, cut into 1” lengths 1 sweet red pepper, diced 1/4 tsp (1 mL) sea salt

A grinding of fresh pepper 8 eggs 1/4 cup (60 mL) milk 1/3 cup Belle or your favourite chevre, crumbled In a nine- or 10-inch (23 or 25 cm) ovenproof skillet (cast iron works best), melt butter and olive oil over medium heat. Cook the green onions, asparagus, red pepper, salt and pepper, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until the asparagus and peppers are tender but still crisp. In a bowl, whisk the eggs and milk. Stir this into pepper/asparagus mixture and top with the crumbled cheese. Cover and lower the heat to mediumlow. Cook 6-8 minutes until the edges are starting to brown but interior is still slightly runny. Place the pan under the broiler until the eggs are set and turning golden. Watch carefully, this only takes a minute or two. Serve immediately.

Jazz festival not to be missed Cont. from Page 15

Dali’s remarkable Santiago el Grande. The docent tells us to lie on the floor in order to get the best view of this massive painting. “You really need to see it from below to get the full effect,” she explains, adding with a laugh, “I’ve seen elegantly dressed women lying down there.” So I dutifully lie down for my own worm’s eye view, and gasp at the effect. This painting is worthy of a reason of its own — number six. While an exhibition room features different depictions of Lord Beaverbook himself, the eponymous gallery apparently boasts another, somewhat more sinister version of the late lord. His ghost has been seen wandering its halls. Perhaps he simply couldn’t bear to part with these wonderful treasures for eternity? And speaking of ghosts, reason seven to visit is one of the most impressive churches in the region, Christ Church Cathedral. Queen Victoria was prevailed upon by

Bishop John Medley to designate Fredericton a city, simply in order that he might construct this magnificent, soaring cathedral. It repays some browsing inside and must be the only church in Christendom with a clock above the altar; do the congregants time the sermon, I wonder? But it’s not the bishop’s ghost but that of his dutiful wife, Margaret, who wanders its precincts. “She used to bring the bishop his dinner when he worked late here,” says the verger, Hank Williams, who encountered Margaret late one night. “There is nowhere in the building where one could cook food, but I could smell tomato soup.” Have I made you hungry? Downtown Fredericton has more than its share of great places to get a bowl of soup of your own. And if that’s not enough, you have to visit the Boyce Market on a Saturday morning, my reason eight. A true local market, it’s about much more than buying grocer-

ies. Boyce is a gathering place for residents. “It’s where people catch up on what’s been happening,” explains Eric Leclair, barista at Whitney Coffee in the market. And most enjoy a snack or lunch — croissants, a freshly made lobster roll, waffles, freshly baked pastries and, of course, great coffee. Fredericton has one more good reason to entice you to visit. Each September since 1991, the city has played host to the largest music festival in The Maritimes, the Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival. It’s reason nine. David Seabrook has been involved since its inception. “No venue is so large you can’t get up close to the bands and there are so many places to catch the music,” he enthuses. “The festival has introduced dozens of great bands.” Then he adds, “Besides the music, there’s that great Maritime hospitality.” There it is — number 10 and the main reason to visit Fredericton.

liz campbell/vaughan today

CRACKING GOOD FUN: As long as you’re on the east coast, don’t miss out on the lobster.

If you go Check Fredericton Tourism’s site for info: www.frederictontourism.ca For the music: www.harvestjazzandblues. com Things to do: Edventures is a unique program that lets you learn crafts and skills from professionals: www.edventures.ca JUNE 2012 VAUGHAN ToDAY 23


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Sports

An unlikely place Woodbridge native Vincent Rocco may play pro in Italy, but he never forgets his roots By Omar Mosleh

H

e may play for the Italian national team and hold both Canadian and Italian passports, but professional hockey player Vincent Rocco has no doubt about where he’s from: Woodbridge. “I was born and raised in Canada, so I’m Canadian,” he said. “But coming from an (Italian) family, I do have a strong sense of being Italian. So now that I’m representing my country, I kind of appreciate being an Italian citizen more.” Rocco — better known as Vinnie among friends and family — has played for HC Alleghe in Italy’s top division, Serie A, for the last three years and recently came off a stint at the 2012 International Ice Hockey Federation men’s world championships, where he played

for Italy. In an interview with Vaughan Today from Stockholm, Sweden, Rocco explained how he had offers to play for the American Hockey League, but saw Italy as a better opportunity. “Growing up, you never really see yourself coming from Canada to Italy to play professionally,” Rocco said. “The way I looked at it, if I wasn’t going to the NHL, I think it was a better career decision for me to go over to Europe.” Rocco spent his AAA years with the Vaughan Kings and played two seasons with the now-defunct Vaughan Vipers. The 24-year-old athlete went to high

school at St. Michael’s College School and attended Niagara College for postsecondary, where he was on the honour roll. He joined HC Alleghe shortly after college. “If you’re not making NHL money, because of the lifestyle, the people you meet, and the places you see, you can’t really compare that to playing in the American or East Coast league,” Rocco said. “It was a tough decision coming out of college, but I figured I should get over there as soon as I can, start my career in Italy and who knows where it’ll go after.” It’s safe to say he feels he made the right decision. While the sport isn’t as popular in Italy as it is in his hometown of Woodbridge, it’s quite the rage in some of the northern towns. “It’s not hockey-crazy Canada, but there are pockets where hockey is pretty popular,” Rocco said. “In some of the mountain towns, some of those rinks have a pretty great atmosphere.” It’s quite the different story in Sweden, where Rocco and his team will be facing off against some of the “big boys” of national hockey: Russia, Czech Republic and Sweden. “You realize the difference here, people are pretty crazy about hockey,” he said. At the time of publication, HC Alleghe had lost their first game to Germany, beat Denmark in their second and lost the last two to Latvia and Norway. “Our goal pretty much is to stay up in the first division,” Rocco explained. Rocco thanked his childhood coach Barry Harte for instilling a strong sense of discipline while still keeping the game fun. “Barry’s a pretty intense

guy as a coach, he pushed us a lot, and kind of gave it to us when we weren’t playing well,” Rocco said. “I really learned to respect the game and play right all the time, and not joke around, so I owe him a big thank you. “I don’t think I’d be here today if it wasn’t for him,” Rocco added. Harte describes young Rocco as a quiet but fiercely intelligent player. “Truthfully, he never said a word,” Harte said. “He just absorbed all that was asked of him and he did it and never complained.” In addition to his skating skills and puck-handling ability, he showed a keen strategy on the ice. “All his hockey skills were there, but the biggest thing that stuck out was his intelligence,” Harte said. “He’s an intelligent kid and was able to decipher what was being asked of him and follow through.” He said Rocco was also a team player and other team members looked up to him. Harte, who coached Rocco for about 10 years, said he was impressed how committed the youth was to local teams such as the Vaughan Kings. “There’s a number of kids who grow up in a community but they go outside the community to play competitively to get recognized,” Harte said. “Vince stayed in his community the whole time.” And while he lives abroad now, he’s still close to his community, which he visits every summer. “My parents and my brother and all my friends are there, so we have a good time in the summer and it’s good to come back and get some homecooked meals,” he said. But returning to Canada’s largest Italian community from the motherland has made him realize a thing or two. “There’s pretty authentic Italian pizza in Woodbridge, but it’s not the same.” JUNE 2012 VAUGHAN ToDAY 25


3175 Rutherford Road Building E, Unit 16 Vaughan - Ontario Tel: 905-738-4020 Hours of operations: Monday - Sat 10 - 9 â&#x20AC;˘ Sunday 12 - 6

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Telephone Please return this coupon to: Saint Anthony of Padua Mission Aid 1320 Leslie St. Suite 100 Toronto, ON M3C 2K9

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